Just like its people, New York architecture is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. After all, the weather is known to shift dramatically and without much notice. And while most buildings can hold up against heavy winds, rain and snow, it’s incredibly important that construction and maintenance crews account for how worksites may withstand such conditions. A recent construction accident in Midtown New York illustrates how hazardous a construction zone can become when weather strikes.
The incident occurred recently when a metal and plywood construction shed was knocked over by extreme winds and rain. The scaffolding was covering up a restaurant renovation project when it was allegedly toppled by a gust of wind. Some pedestrians in the vicinity of the construction site were reportedly struck by falling debris. According to witness accounts, more than one pedestrian was actually trapped by the falling structure.
The scaffolding accident resulted in four people sustaining injuries. A firefighter with responding emergency crews was allegedly hurt, and three other people required medical treatment as well. All of the accident victims were transported to an area hospital.
A warning regarding extreme weather conditions was allegedly issued by the Department of Buildings the day the incident occurred. There is also evidence that the construction shed was not properly installed, according to building inspectors that investigated the scene. As a result, all construction was halted on the project.
Given that citations and a stop work order were distributed by the Department of buildings, it is not yet known whether responsibility for the injury accident falls on the construction company or owner. However, it does serve to re-enforce the need for strong safety laws that hold owners and general contrctors repsponible for work site safety violations. Recent efforts by insurance companies and unsafe contractors seek to undermine the New York Labor Law which holds owners and general contractors responsible for unsafe conditions and helps keep us all safe.
Source: CBS New York, “Construction Shed Collapse Sends Debris Flying In Midtown,” Nov. 1, 2013