3 Workers Hurt in Elevator Accident on Construction Site in New York City

According to news reports, three workers were injured in Brooklyn when they fell down an elevator shaft. The men were members of a construction crew working on a building under construction at 170 Tillary Street.

While standing on a work platform in an elevator shaft, the workers fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft when the platform collapsed. Before it gave way, the platform was on the fourth floor of the building.

All three men went to Methodist Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The Department of Buildings was investigating the accident. Enforcement actions were pending the completion of the investigation.

Elevator Accidents are Deadly

According to the Center for Construction Researching and Training (CPWR), elevators pose a serious risk of injuries and death to individuals installing, maintaining, or repairing the elevators. From 2011 through 2016, 145 construction workers died from elevator-related injuries. That is approximately 24 deaths per year.

Construction accounted for 51 percent of the elevator-related fatalities for all industries. The industry with the second-highest number of elevator-related deaths was manufacturing. Thirty-seven people died in elevator accidents during the same period in the manufacturing industry.

Most elevator accidents that resulted in death involved a fall from a higher level to a lower level (53.5%). Roughly 48 percent of the cases involved a fall of more than 30 feet. The second highest incident that resulted in elevator-related deaths was being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects (25.7%).

Injuries from elevator accidents include:

  • Multiple traumatic injuries and disorders
  • Intracranial injuries
  • Internal injuries to organs and blood vessels of the truck
  • Strangulations, asphyxiations, and suffocations, and
  • Electric shocks and electrocutions.

The largest percentage of deaths in construction elevator accidents occurred when a worker was constructing, assembling, or dismantling the elevator or equipment. 

Elevator-Related Injuries are Also Common in Construction

Construction also tops the list of industries with the most elevator-related injuries. From 2011 through 2016, there were 2,410 elevator-related injuries in the construction industry. Retail was the industry with the second-highest number of injuries at 2,101.

The most common cause of injuries related to elevators in construction was caught in or compressed by an object or equipment. Falling to a lower level and struck by an object came in second and third, respectively.

Other traumatic injuries and disorders top the list of injuries, followed by bruises, contusions, and fractures. Cuts, lacerations, concussions, and other injuries rounded out the list.

New Law in New York to Improve Elevator Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laws and regulations designed to prevent elevator-related fatalities and injuries on the job. However, New York just passed laws related to elevator safety.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Elevator Safety Act in January 2020. The Act requires everyone who designs, constructs, inspects, maintains, or repairs elevators to hold a license issued by New York State. By requiring a person to have a license, the state can ensure that a person has specific qualifications and has the necessary training to work on elevators.

The Act goes a step further to help promote safety by ensuring compliance by creating a new advisory board. The New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Advisory Board will establish recommendations for examinations, inspections, and enforcement.

What Should I Do After a Workplace Injury in New York?

The New York workers’ compensation system covers most workers injured at work. Workers’ compensation benefits pay for necessary medical treatment and loss of income benefits.

If you sustain a workplace injury, report the injury to your employer as quickly as possible. You have just 30 days to report a workplace injury to your employer. Workers’ compensation claims must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within two years after the employee was injured or should have known of an injury or illness.

Seek medical treatment immediately in an emergency. In cases involving non-emergency injuries, you must use a doctor authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

If your claim is not disputed, your employer or its insurance provider pays for reasonable medical treatment. You may also receive income benefits.

Income benefits are not full reimbursement for all lost income. Workers’ compensation cash benefits are based on 2/3 of your average weekly wage, up to the state maximum amounts.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer or Another Party for a Workplace Injury?

In most cases, an employee who is covered by workers’ compensation cannot sue an employer for a workplace injury. However, there are exceptions. Also, an employee may have a third-party claim against another party who caused the injury.

Lawsuits can result in compensation for full loss of income, noneconomic damages, and other damages. Workers hurt on the job may want to consult a workplace accident attorney to determine whether they may be entitled to additional compensation for injuries.