Two window washers working on the 68th floor of One World Trade Center had a harrowing experience when a scaffolding accident in Manhattan left them stranded, swinging from just one support cable. The mobile scaffolding was on the ascent on November 12 of this year when 41-year old Juan Lizama and 33-year old Juan Lopez (of Brooklyn) noticed ones of the cables had developed an unexpected amount of slack. The cable continued to play out, causing the platform to tilt dangerously, until the scaffolding was nearly vertical, leaving the two men supported by their safety harnesses.
Firefighters responded quickly but couldn't reach the men from the roof. Nor did they think it safe enough to try to reel the scaffolding back to the roof. Instead, they were forced to cut through three layers of glass (one of which was at least two inches thick) with as special diamond-bladed saw. In the meantime, additional safety harnesses were lowered from the roof of the building to help secure the workers-who could have easily fallen at any time. The rescue took at least 40 minutes and when the men were finally pulled inside the building they were chilled but relatively unharmed. Both were taken to Bellevue Hospital and treated for hypothermia.
The company that manufactured the scaffolding (Tractel) in this accident also manufactured the scaffolding involved in an accident in June of last year. An official investigation is ongoing and there has been no word on why one cable suddenly became slack enough to pose a danger.
New York's Labor Law protects construction workers who are involved height related accidents and holds the property owner as well as the general contractor completely responsible for the accident.
If your or a loved one has been involved in any sort of scaffolding accident in New York City, whether it involved mobile scaffolding such as a window washer rig or stationary scaffolding such as those employed at construction sites around the City, contact a New York Scaffolding accident attorney immediately to discuss your case. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.