LAW

What New Yorkers Need to Know About Construction Site Accidents

As one of the world’s great cities, New York’s skyline is perpetually dotted by construction cranes and new buildings in various stages of completion. Given this level of activity, it’s not surprising that construction workers comprise five-percent of New York City’s total workforce. What may surprise you, however, is the fact that these workers also account for 27-percent of all workplace fatalities.

To help you better understand the risks involved — and what to do if you or someone you love is injured — let’s take a closer look at construction site injuries in New York City.

New York Construction Site Injuries By the Numbers

Because they work at great heights and with heavy equipment, construction workers have one of the more dangerous jobs available. Data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were 56 workplace fatalities in New York City in 2016, with construction or construction-related jobs associated with the largest share of these fatal injuries.

Falling or being crushed or struck with an object are the most common causes of death for local construction workers, accounting for roughly 70-percent of all incidents. Other dangers include electrocution, fires, hypothermia, poisoning and saws.

While working at high elevation with heavy machinery has inherent dangers, negligence and willful disregard for safety places workers at even greater risk. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), at least one serious safety violation was found in 90-percent of fatal construction injuries in New York City. The most frequently cited safety violations discovered after a fatal construction accident include:

  • Inadequate training
  • Inadequate fall protection
  • Inadequate protective gear
  • Scaffolding issues
  • Faulty electrical equipment
  • Breakdown in hazard communications

In addition to these safety violations, roughly 13-percent of New York City construction site fatalities occurred after an employer willfully failed to correct a known safety hazard or intentionally disabled safety features, according to OSHA statistics.

Protecting Yourself Physically — and Legally

In order to protect yourself (or your employees) from hazards on the job site, it’s imperative to follow smart safety protocols. OSHA has published a comprehensive guide to construction worker safety, one that features detailed information regarding the safe operation and deployment of cranes, trenching, stairways, ladders, forklifts and scaffolding.

The OSHA guide also offers instructions for preventing falls and object strikes, the two most common causes of serious injury on a construction site.

If you have already been injured (or have seen a love one be injured) due to the negligence of others, it’s important to seek legal counsel. Given the severity of many construction site accidents, injuries can have debilitating and lifelong consequences.

These cases are often quite complex, however, so it’s vitally important to have an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate the legal system. In many cases immediate investigations will be able to locate and preserve evidence and memorialize testimony as to the manner in which an accident occurred. It is of significant importance to act promptly to preserve your rights.

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