Building Trades, Features, Health and Safety, New York, topslot

Vesey Street Scaffolding Collapse Underscores Dangers in the Construction Industry

October 6, 2020

By Ben Kimmel

New York, NY – A scaffolding accident at 250 Vesey Street nearly killed two men, this week, as they clung to ropes extending from the lopsided structure. The two window washers were 30 stories high off the pavement when something unexpected took place. Fortunately, the FDNY was able to safely rescue the men by securing entry through a nearby window. The rescue reportedly took 40 minutes to accomplish. The window washers ended up fine and refused any further attention.

Don't workers like these deserve all the protection they can get?

This week’s scaffolding accident at 250 Vesey comes three months after a deadly scaffolding collapse in Murray Hill, which claimed the life of one man and injured three others.

Owned by Brookfield Properties, the 34-story downtown building is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in Gold standard and Energy Star achieved. The cause for the near-fatal accident is unclear. However, the need for attention in this matter must not go unaddressed.

Although the property and the standards are of high measure, attention to any and all safety precautions must undergo close scrutiny. This accident comes three months after another collapse in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan. That one resulted in one death and three injuries. 

Scaffolding failures are a common feature in construction accidents. According to BLS (Basic Life Support) statistics, scaffolding accidents account for 4,500 injuries and more than 60 deaths each year. Almost 30% of all workplace deaths are the result of falls from scaffoldings and ladders. 

Meanwhile, the common worker, the window washer, the person on a lift or a ladder, is simply a person looking to accommodate life and perhaps keep a roof over their head and put food on their table. It is unfortunately true that accidents happen. It is also true that the proper safety measures can not only save lives, but reduce injury, which is why the DOB has enforced mandatory scaffolding training. Perhaps without this training, the two men that hung from the scaffolding some 30 stories above the street at 250 Vesey this week, would not be safe and alive today. Once more, the proper training and safety protocols must not and cannot be ignored — only improved.

Stay safe out there, folks!

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of IUOE Local 94, as well as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at


October 6, 2020

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