One construction worker will never return home to his family. Three others face a difficult recovery. These are the consequences of the latest scaffold collapse in New York City.
It happened on July 16 in Midtown, toward the end of the work day. The four workers were reportedly doing restoration work on the building’s exterior when the suspended scaffolding gave way. While the exact cause of the incident will be investigated by the Department of Buildings, NBC New York reports a piece of the façade may have fallen off and crashed into the scaffold.
One of the workers died, while three others suffered injuries. It is a stark reminder not just of the dangers construction workers face while on scaffolding, but how preventable many of these incidents truly are.
Scaffolding is a well-known danger area
If you’ve worked in construction before, you know scaffolding is dangerous. Scaffolding failure is one of the most common causes of injuries and death while on a job site. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 4,500 construction worker injuries and 60 worker deaths every year are the result of scaffold incidents.
Despite this, fall protection and scaffold requirements are two of the top three most frequently cited types of OSHA violations.
Accountability for an unsafe work site
These deadly, dangerous incidents don’t need to happen.
There are numerous clearly defined safety standards for scaffold on construction sites, including requirements for railings, equipment use, installation, training and weight. Ensuring these rules are followed is the responsibility of property owners and general contractors, who are obligated to provide a safe work environment.
When these parties do not hold up their end of the deal, an injured worker and their family can hold them responsible.