While we have blogging for years about failing construction scaffolds in New York City, the ongoing incidence of preventable scaffolding accidents continues to shock us. Many construction workers do their jobs in unsafe conditions, but innocent passers-by also find themselves seriously injured near construction sites, often because of collapsing scaffolds and other objects that never should have come down.
In February, several large pieces of wooden scaffolding, described as a temporary plywood wall, fell down onto a busy Downtown Brooklyn street, hitting a hot dog vendor on the head, according to the New York Post. The accident occurred at Fulton Street and Elm Place, in a location where the vendor had worked for years, the Post said.
Construction negligence hurts people
Scaffolding collapses can be attributed to different causes, some of which are exacerbated in windy weather, but, in general, all of them are the responsibility of the builders and contractors who erect the scaffolds. Improperly designed, poorly installed or negligently maintained scaffolding (and other failures to keep construction sites safe for workers and pedestrians) represents a form of negligence that can cause great harm.
According to the Post article, the vendor was sent to the hospital, and the city Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a violation and a partial stop work order after the Downtown Brooklyn incident. While that seems to be a small, reactive step in the right direction, many people think greater accountability and proactive, effective accident prevention are more important and more urgently needed.
If you or a loved one were hurt
If you were injured as a construction worker or as a pedestrian, you have certain legal rights. Talk to an attorney about whether you may be entitled to money damages via a third-party claim against negligent parties.