Elevator shaft accident statistics show how surprisingly common these types of accidents are.
A contractor died when he fell five stories down an elevator shaft in Queens. According to NBC News (6.5.14), the 45-year-old man’s harness apparently malfunctioned and he plummeted down the shaft. The accident happened at a construction site for a new school on 42nd Street in Sunnyside.
A second worker described as a man in his 30s, was working from the fourth floor at the time of the fatal plunge. He was hit by debris as his colleague fell, but his harness held, said NBC News. He was listed in stable condition. Both men work for an elevator contracting company.
“Workers need to always double check their safety harnesses. If something is not right or they do not feel right, they should call their supervisor over at once,” said Attorney at Law David Perecman.
“Everyone involved in a construction project has a role to play in preventing falls,” he added. “Employers have the responsibility to identify fall hazards on a worksite and prevent falls from happening, or ensure that if falls occur, no one dies. Supervisors may be held accountable for unsafe work practices.”
Working in or near elevator shafts is particularly dangerous. According to a 2013 report produced by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), as part of a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), accidents involving elevators and escalators kill about 31 people each year in the United States. Elevators caused almost 90% of those deaths and half those annual deaths were to people working on or near elevators. Falls into the shaft resulted in 56 percent of the deaths of workers working in or near elevator shafts. The report used the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2006-2010.
“When people are working near an elevator shaft, safety lines or safety harnesses to prevent serious falls are critically important. Simple precautions can mean the difference between a close call and a tragedy,” said Perecman.
The NBC News story cited is “Worker Plummets Five Stories Down Elevator Shaft, Dies.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident, contact The Perecman Firm at 212-977-7033.
About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, PLLC:
For the past 30 years, the New York construction accident, medical malpractice, auto accident, personal injury, and civil rights violation lawyers at The Perecman Firm, PLLC have handled all types of New York personal injury cases, including escalator and elevator accidents. David Perecman, founder of the Firm, has been recognized for his achievements as an Honoree in the National Law Journal’s Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine’s “The Best Lawyers in America” and The New York Times Magazine “New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition” for the years 2007-2010. The prestigious U.S. News & World Report ranks The Perecman Firm among the top 20 personal injury firms in New York City for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.
The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict** for a construction accident (Index 112370/03) Supreme Court, New York County, a $5.35 million dollar verdict*** for an automobile accident (Index 2749/04) Supreme Court, Kings County, and a $40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice (Index 2146/03)****Supreme Court, Kings County.
The Perecman Firm serves Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester, Upstate NY, Morris County, and Rockland County.
**later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million
*** later settled for $3.5 million
**** total potential payout
“Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.”