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Scaffolding Collapse in Harlem Injures 17; New York City Bus Passengers Hurt

Seventeen people were injured recently when scaffolding collapsed onto the back of a New York City bus (see Violations Issued to Construction Company in Harlem Scaffold Collapse at DNAinfo.com). The accident occurred on September 20th at 301 West 125th Street near Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The building was under demolition at the time, and parts of the building apparently came down on the bus along with the scaffolding. The bus was stopped in front of the building when the scaffolding collapsed, and among those injured appear to be bus passengers as well as demolition workers and people waiting for the bus and other bystanders.

Details are still coming in as to who was injured and the extent of their injuries, as well as the cause of the collapse. The Department of Buildings is expected to issue a half dozen safety violations to the contractor on the demolition project, Disano Demolition, for having the wrong equipment on the site and not completing the stages of the demolition in the correct order, among other violations. A safety complaint had been filed on September 7 for falling bricks, and building inspectors investigated at that time, but found no reason to issue any violations at that time. People who regularly pass by the site have stated that they saw bricks falling onto the scaffolding on a regular basis.

Being struck by scaffolding is one of the four leading hazards associated with scaffolding, the others being falls from scaffolds, workers caught in or between scaffolding, and electrocution. While most of these hazards involve only the workers themselves, being struck by scaffolding is a very real danger not only to workers below but to innocent bystanders, as this case shows.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for scaffolds and even publishes a 60-plus page Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry, which includes directions on protection from falling objects and collapses. If OSHA standards were violated as well, the demolition contractor may be subject to more citations to come.

New York City attorney Leandros Vrionedes handles personal injury and wrongful death cases involving construction sites, including scaffolding accidents, as well as premises liability matters involving pedestrians, sidewalk accidents, and city bus and other public transit accidents. For assistance in any New York City personal injury or wrongful death matter, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C.