Elevator Accidents at Construction Sites

There are a number of different ways construction workers can be injured or killed from elevator accidents. Construction work carries with it dangerous components, but working in or around elevators can increase the threat of injury or death even more, especially when it comes to working on elevated surfaces or near elevator shafts.

Even though elevators are required for certain types of construction work to be completed, construction workers whose job requires them to work on and around elevators are still in danger. Injuries sustained from elevator falls can be severe, and in many cases life threatening.

Common Injuries from Elevator Accidents

  • Brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Nerve damage

According to The Census of Fatal and Occupational Injuries, about 20 people die as a result of elevator or escalator accidents every year in the US. Most of these cases include construction contractors who were performing elevator maintenance or installations.

Elevator shafts contain large holes in the ground, presenting hazardous threats to construction workers who are in danger of falling in. For example, an elevator shaft left unattended and without a blockade causes a serious fall hazard when workers are preoccupied by a task near the opening. When shafts are not occupied, responsible parties should ensure that they are marked and blocked off to prevent fall hazards. Anyone who falls down an elevator shaft can sustain severe impact injuries, no matter how short the fall may be.

6 Ways Elevator Accidents May Occur

  1. Struck by the elevator or counterweight
  2. Caught in the doors or other moving parts
  3. Uncontrolled fall of the elevator car
  4. Electric shock or electrocution
  5. Asphyxiation from being trapped in the elevator
  6. Falling into the elevator shaft

If the right kind of safety equipment is not used, any construction worker doing work in or around an elevator shaft is at risk of sustaining injury. Gloves, hard-hats and reinforced footwear should be provided by the employer, in addition to a personal fall arrest system.

To comply with standards, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of personal fall arrest equipment anywhere a there is potential for a worker to fall. Noncompliance with OSHA safety standards and other best practice regulations can result in construction site injuries, as well as safety violations.

Examples of Elevator Accidents at Construction Sites In the last 10 years…

  • A construction elevator in Manhattan plunged more than 25 stories after a cable snapped, killing two workers and injuring several others.
  • A 22-year-old elevator mechanic apprentice sustained permanent injuries when a falling elevator counterweight struck him in the face during renovation of the elevator.
  • 21 construction workers were taken to the hospital, most complaining of neck and back pain following an accident at a Bed, Bath and Beyond store in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a construction site elevator accident, you may be eligible for damages. If negligence was involved, you may also be entitled to additional compensation. Contact the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a personal injury case. If we decide to take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.