The frightening collapse of a scaffold in SoHo on November 19 underscores the danger of construction in crowded areas of Manhattan — even if you’re just a bystander and not a worker. Amazingly, nobody was seriously hurt or killed this time.
Initially, high winds were blamed for a huge volume of falling debris that injured five people at the busy corner of Broadway and Prince Street. But even with adverse weather conditions, could this very serious accident have been prevented?
Scaffolds, falls and other dangers
Scaffolds and construction sites present inherent danger, even in perfect weather. Many falls, scaffolding collapses and equipment failures occur when owners and builders neglect their duty to maintain a hazard-free environment for their employees.
Construction contractors are responsible for the safety of their employees. New York even has a “Scaffold Law” specifically meant to protect construction workers who get hurt while doing their jobs due to the force of gravity. In essence, New York Labor Law 240 puts full responsibility for injuries on property owners and general contractors.
If your life has been changed by an accident
A construction accident can change your life in a moment. Injured workers and their families can suffer physical, emotional, relational and financial consequences that last for years.
When developers and builders endanger the lives of workers (and other citizens) by failing to maintain safe conditions, injured victims can use a third-party claim (a lawsuit) to obtain money damages from the responsible parties. It is important to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney if you think you might have the basis for a claim.