On Tuesday, July 11, a mason worker fell while walking on defective scaffolding at a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. According to Patch, officials from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) said the accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. on the 14th floor of the building, located at 511 Fifth Ave. This 17-story commercial and office space is owned by 511 Fifth Avenue LLC.
The worker was walking down stairs that were part of the supported scaffold structure when his foot became trapped in between two of the steps. This reportedly caused him to fall. The extent of the fall is not known at the time but the accident did leave him with what appears to be a serious back injury. He was transported to Bellevue hospital for treatment. We hope that he fully recovers from this ordeal.
A DOB spokesperson stated that the city had issued a series of summonses to the building owner for safety issues. These included violations for a lack of scaffold guardrails, as well as for a loose wood plan.
The Importance of Safe Scaffolding
Mason workers such as the one injured in Midtown are often forced to cope with the hazards of scaffolding accidents. At the 14th floor of the building, this particular scaffold may have posed life-threatening risks to anyone working on it, as it appears to have violated criteria set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Investigators will seek to gather further details about what led to this worker falling on the scaffold stairs. However, OSHA’s general requirements for scaffolds contain specifications for steps, including step width, slip resistance, and height.
OSHA’s scaffolding guidelines also stress the role of fall protection. At heights above 10 feet, workers on a supported scaffold are entitled to personal fall arrest systems (such as harnesses) or guardrails. Part of the investigation conducted by the DOB and OSHA will focus on whether the injured worker was afforded the appropriate safety fall protection device. It is the responsibility of building owners, general contractors and employers to provide a safe place to work and failing to provide a fall protection device in this scenario would clearly violate OSHA standards. Too often, scaffold falls cause permanent disabilities or even death, contributing to the tragic statistics that make falls the leading cause of fatal construction accidents.
In New York State, Labor Law 240 provides the most legal protection for workers involved in fall-related accidents on job sites. Our firm is proud to have advanced protections for such workers by setting precedent within Labor Law 240.
Advocacy for Construction Workers Harmed on Scaffolding
Sound legal representation can help workers who are hurt in unsafe construction sites to recover financial compensation for their injuries. The scaffolding accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are undisputed industry leaders in this area, bringing a high level of experience and passion to each labor law case.
Notable results we have obtained for victims of scaffolding accidents include:
$9,750,000 settlement for a worker whose earning capacity was diminished by a serious fall from scaffolding
$6,080,408 verdict for a union carpenter who was injured after a scaffold collapsed in Harlem
$6,000,000 settlement for a waterproofer who required spinal surgery after falling through a scaffold with missing foot planks