Scaffolding Buckles Leaving Window Washers Dangling from a High-Rise

Accidents involving scaffolding are many times the result of support or planking giving way. That’s apparently what happened when two window washers had to be rescued from a Midtown Manhattan high-rise.

The scaffolding buckled, leaving the workers suspended from 46 stories up the Hearst Building for 90 minutes. It took cutting a hole in a window for firefighters to reach the workers. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Causes of Scaffolding Accidents

In general, there are a variety of reasons that scaffolding accidents happen: 

  • missing or inadequate guardrails;
  • structural instability; and
  • exceeding weight limits are some examples.

They can also happen when there is a lack of safety training or a worker is struck by a falling object. Fall protection is critical in the event something goes wrong.

Liability for a Scaffolding Accident

Oftentimes these types of accidents result in serious or fatal injuries, though fortunately that was not the case in the recent incident in New York.

When an accident happens while on the job, employees who are hurt are typically able to file a workers’ compensation claim. But sometimes liability is with another party, which may lead to a third party claim.

Although we don’t know what caused the scaffolding to give way for these window washers, sometimes it can be caused by a defect in the design or manufacturing of the product. In that case a manufacturer might be held liable in a claim. If a sub-contractor or another independent contractor on a job site was negligent in some manner, such as overloading the scaffolding, this could also result in a third party claim.

If there are questions surrounding liability and the cause of someone’s serious or fatal injuries in a work accident, contact an attorney. Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help determine responsibility and explain legal options that could be available.

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