Amazingly, no one was killed when scaffolding collapsed last week at a midtown Manhattan high-rise. Window washers were working on the 40th floor outside at 1177 Avenue of the Americas when one side of the scaffold came loose and titled at a 45 degree angle. The two window washers hung on until rescuers arrived moments later. The emergency crews cut two windows on the 43rd floor and hauled the men in with ropes.
One man was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition, while the other worker was listed in stable condition at the same hospital.
According to the building’s landlord, Silverstein Properties, a mechanical failure in the scaffolding rig’s motor caused the accident. Both men were properly harnessed, and the emergency brake worked as it was supposed to, preventing the workers from falling from the rig.
Other recent scaffolding accidents include one on SOHO in which a construction worker fell from a scaffold 30 feet off the ground to his death and another in which two workers were injured at a home remodeling project in Lindenhurst, New Jersey. One suffered head injuries and the other was reported to have broken a leg. The men worked for Monster Home Improvements. No word on the cause of the accident was available.
New York City has unusual laws related to scaffolding accidents. First enacted in the late 19th century, the city’s scaffolding laws are designed to protect workers by holding employers liable for safety and responsible for injuries or fatalities sustained as a result of a scaffolding accident. They are the only such laws remaining in the Unied States.
There have been numerous attempts to overturn the law, often referred to as NY Labor Law 240. These efforts are supported by industry groups.
Source: DNAInfo.com, “Two Workers Injured After Scaffold Collapse on Midtown High-Rise,” July 11, 20012.