On June 22, 2023, shortly after 9:00 a.m., a construction worker fell approximately 30 feet at a construction site on Broome Street in Lower Manhattan. The worker then became stuck in a confined space between two buildings and was thankfully rescued by FDNY members who used saws and jackhammers to breach a concrete wall to reach him. Work at the site continued as New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) began investigating the incident.
According to FDNY Battalion Chief John Leverock, the rescue operation was difficult. “We had a solid concrete wall. The [FDNY] members took about a half hour to breach the wall, made a cut about 6 feet wide by 2 feet high, and we eventually pulled the worker out through the hole,” he said.
The worker remained conscious throughout the rescue operation and was able to communicate with rescuers. He was immediately transported to a nearby hospital where he received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. We wish him a quick and complete recovery following this harrowing accident.
In their preliminary report, the DOB revealed that the worker fell from a pipe scaffolding on the building’s third floor. According to investigators, the third-floor scaffolding was found to be covered in debris and the area where he became stuck was left uncovered. A stop-work order was issued following their initial inspection citing violations for “inadequate housekeeping” and “failure to safeguard” workers.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry. In 2022, 11 construction workers in New York City suffered fatal injuries in construction-related incidents; 9 of these fatalities resulted from worker falls. These types of accidents can occur on job sites of all sizes. Catastrophic injuries and even death can occur even with falls from relatively low heights. It is crucial that site leaders prioritize the safety of their workers by adhering to rules and regulations that aim to greatly reduce the risk for falls and other hazards on job sites.
Workers should know that they have a legal right to a safe work environment. Local and federal laws provide legal protections for workers exposed to certain risks on the job, such as New York’s Labor Law 240. Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, is meant to protect workers from fall-related accidents by requiring the general contractor or owner of a job site to provide the proper equipment required to prevent gravity-related accidents. This statute not only protects against falls, but other accidents such as falling object accidents as well.
A worker who is injured in an accident that resulted from a contractor or property owner failing to fulfill their duty to provide these protections may be able to pursue legal action to obtain compensation for resulting injuries and damages. If you suffered injuries in a scaffolding accident, it may be in your best interest to contact a construction accident lawyer who can assist you in the legal process.
The skilled attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are well-versed in New York’s Labor Laws and have extensive experience handling cases for injured construction workers, including:
- $110,174,972 verdict for a cyclist who was paralyzed when he was struck by a falling railroad tie from an overhead subway line
- $53,500,000 jury verdict for a construction worker who became paralyzed after falling 10-12 feet on a work site