Why is OSHA Investigating This NJ High Rise Condo?

elevator repairmanEarlier this month, an elevator repairman was reported to have fallen down an elevator shaft in Guttenberg, New Jersey. However, an investigation found the 44-year-old repairman was actually (horrifyingly) dragged upwards in the elevator shaft.

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have both conducted investigations on the circumstances of the accident.

OSHA and Investigators Discover Horrifying Circumstances Surrounding Repairman’s Death

According to the prosecutor’s office, the repairman was performing routine monthly maintenance on an elevator in the Galaxy Towers, a residential building in East Guttenberg. The condominium has three towers with seven stories that reach the height of 415 feet. Although OSHA released an initial statement saying the repairman fell, officials say the repairman was actually entangled between the elevator door and the top part on the elevator and was dragged upwards before falling from the top of the shaft. He was pronounced dead shortly after emergency response teams arrived.

Residents say the elevators had actually just been replaced. However, many are questioning why the repairman was working alone on an elevator that reached seven stories and whether he was even wearing any fall prevention safety equipment.

Employers of Elevator Repairmen Need to be More Diligent in Safety Training

According to the Center of Construction Research and Training, elevators injure approximately 17,000 people every year in the U.S. Half of the number of fatal accidents involving elevator workers are caused by shaft falls. The number of workers who get caught between parts of the elevator, such as the worker who tragically died earlier this month, is also high. The Center of Construction Research and Training recommends the following to prevent elevator-related accidents:

  • Employers should always provide repairmen with protective practices and substantial safety training
  • Businesses and complexes should allow the repairmen to properly shut down and lock out electrical circuits while the elevators are being repaired
  • Employers should always provide fall protection gear to workers
  • Employers must also make sure all of their repairmen are qualified
  • The business or residence is responsible for making sure the elevator is regularly inspected to ensure it complies with safety standards

What businesses and residences that contain multiple stories often fail to realize is elevators are very real potential sources for death and serious injuries. When an elevator is not properly maintained and regularly inspected, an accident is more likely to occur. Additionally, employers of repairmen must also do their part to ensure their workers are safe by being more consistent in providing proper safety training and equipment.

 David Spevack is a personal injury attorney that helps victims of on-the-job injuries in the Iselin, New Brunswick and Teaneck areas of New Jersey.

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