On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, a freight elevator fell three floors because of a defective brake. This accident injured 22 construction workers.

The elevator was ascending when the incident occurred. According to reports at the scene, it began to fall suddenly just before it reached the fourth floor. The elevator fell all the way to the basement, as those individuals trapped inside attempted to brace themselves. Although none of their injuries were thought to be life-threatening, many of the workers complained of neck or back injuries. Nine workers were transferred to hospitals for injuries sustained in the fall.

The elevator had last been inspected in 2010. No safety violations were found at that time. However, the Department of Buildings investigated after the elevator accident and cited the owner for several violations. Among these were citations for failing to maintain the elevator in a safe manner and illegally using a freight elevator as a passenger elevator. The violations will likely result in a fine. The elevator itself is currently out of use pending repairs.

The workers’ compensation lawyers with Markhoff & Mittman are relieved to hear that there were few serious injuries in what could have been a very tragic workplace accident.