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4 Workers Injured in NYC Scaffold Collapse

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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Four construction workers were injured in Manhattan earlier this week when a scaffold collapsed at the $25 billion Hudson Yards megaproject along 10th Avenue.

The accident occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, on the 18th floor of a 58-story, 2.9 million-square-foot, $3.8 billion building that’s currently under construction.

What Happened

According to the Department of Buildings, the cross-bracing on the scaffold was inadequate, and therefore gave way under a load of heavy materials. According to the New York Daily News, police said two workers fell from the 18th floor scaffolding to the floor below, and it wasn’t immediately clear how the other two workers were hurt.

One worker sustained serious injuries while the other three suffered only minor injuries; all four were taken to Bellevue and Mount Sinai West hospitals, according to reports.

According to ABC, DOB inspectors ordered contractors to repair the scaffolding and issued a violation for failure to safeguard workers. A partial stop work order was also issued.

While Bisnow reports that this is the first accident at the high-profile project, fall accidents have plagued New York City construction projects, with a recent uptick prompting new safety training mandates in Local Law 196, which was signed in October 2017 by Mayor Bill de Blasio—one month after two workers were killed in separate NYC fall incidents on the same day.

Local Law 196

When the law was first signed in 2017, it dictated that by March 2018, workers were required to have at least 10 hours of safety training and by December 2018, workers were required to have 30 hours of training. (Supervisors were always mandated with 62 hours.)

However, when the law was signed, de Blasio left the hours subject to change, as well as the curriculum, and a task force was set up to iron out the details.

Crain’s reported that the task force met only once, in February 2018, before making its recommendations for the now-approved 40-hour requirement, which applies to workers at sites for which the DOB requires construction superintendents, site-safety coordinators or site-safety managers.

Deadlines were also cemented at that time. While the March deadline for 10 hours held, the December deadline for the 30 (or 62) hours was extended to June 1, 2019, at the time, if the DOB determines that “there is insufficient training capacity.”

By November, the June extension was used and, beyond that, workers would also be required to take an additional 10 hours of training by Sept. 1, 2020.

In April of this year, New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr., chair of the city’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, promised to ensure Local Law 196 is put into effect, after the city suffered from a chain of construction worker deaths, some occurring within the same week.

Cornegy responded to the series of accidents by saying, “[It’s] a chilling reminder of the danger the men and women who build our city are subjected to, day in and day out.

“It is also a reminder of the importance of implementing the construction site safety training mandates of Local Law 196 of 2017, which will be a vitally important way to prevent future fatalities like these.”

LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

While Bisnow reports that this is the first accident at the high-profile project, fall accidents have plagued New York City construction projects, with a recent uptick prompting new safety training mandates in Local Law 196, which was signed in October 2017 by Mayor Bill de Blasio—one month after two workers were killed in separate NYC fall incidents on the same day.

However, the following month, a second extension was granted for the increased safety training requirements as administered by OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 to Dec. 1, 2019. The change also granted the DOB with the option to extend training a third time, so long as the agency announced its decision by Sept. 1. No changes to the 40-hour requirement, due by Sept. 1, 2020, were reported.

Among the latest updates, in July, the DOB released an interactive map showing the location of all the construction sites in New York City where workers and supervisors must have site safety training under 2017’s Local Law 196.

This map is one component of the Department’s broader efforts to raise awareness about the Local Law 196 training requirements and deadlines, to ensure that all construction workers and contractors are aware of the new rules, the DOB said.

Every site on the map—which is updated daily—has a link to information in the DOB’s online database.

And just last month, in a partnership between the city-based not-for-profit entities city-based organizations Building Skills New York and Public Housing Communities Inc., officials announced that New York City construction workers can receive free classes fulfilling the OSHA-30 requirements, which, again, are due by Dec. 1.

Those interested in attending the free construction site safety training can call Building Skills New York at 212-776-4149.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Safety; Scaffolding

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