The tall skyscrapers that make up the skyline of New York City are a testament to the hard work of the local construction industry. Unfortunately, the work needed to build or renovate a building is dangerous. Part of the reason is the construction work that happens at great heights. Sometimes a part of the building may break off and fall.

Falling materials and objects are life threatening events because they may strike workers and pedestrians who do not know of the danger until it is too late. Sometimes a disastrous event like falling material can set off a secondary disaster. A recent construction accident in Manhattan shows how a chain reaction of events can occur when building debris falls.

An afternoon disaster

The New York Daily News reported on a July 16th construction accident at a 12 story condominium that claimed the life of one construction worker and injured at least three other people. Two construction workers on a rig were working on restoring a façade on the eleventh floor. However, a piece of parapet broke off from above and struck the rig. The rig then slammed into scaffolding below it.

The accident claimed the life of one construction worker, but investigators had not determined whether the worker died on the ground or in the rig. Of the three injured workers, two received serious injuries while one only took minor injuries in the accident.

Investigating the incident

As of the time of the report, investigators were still examining the site to determine the cause of the collapse. One of the witnesses cited in the story noted the poor condition of the building and opined that a repair had been in order for years.

The story also points out another recent incident, back in December, when an architect died after a piece of façade struck her. Her death motivated the city to boost its Local Law 11, which governs inspections of building facades. Yet as the Manhattan accident has shown New Yorkers, challenges remain in preventing scaffolding accidents from occurring.