Construction site deaths in New York rose to a 14-year high in 2016, according to a study published by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety Health (NYCOSH). The study reports that 71 workers were fatally injured in construction-related accidents in 2016—up from the 55 deaths reported in 2015, and the highest number since 2002.
The study cites diminished federal funding—and thus a reduced number of inspections—from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as one reason for the uptick in these deaths. However, from 2015 to 2016, construction-related deaths in New York City (NYC) decreased from 25 to 21, in part due to a focused effort by the City to improve unsafe workplaces.
NYCOSH also notes that New York ranks among the top 10 states in the county for construction-related fatalities. Nearly one-half of these deaths in the past decade were caused by construction site falls.
How to Reduce Construction Site Death and Injury Rates
The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) regulates construction site safety, but the State lacks an equivalent department. The NYCOSH study includes the following proven strategies for reducing construction-related deaths:
- Improved worker training
- Serious enforcement of safety regulations
- Enhanced requirements for reporting construction site accidents
- Inviting local prosecutors to more rigorously prosecute construction site safety violations
- Assisting immigrants who fear deportation or arrest if they report violations or attempt to unionize
NYC has enacted regulations that attempt to incorporate these strategies. For example, the City passed a law in 2017 that requires workers to complete: (1) a 10-hour OSHA class with 20-hours of additional training (in fall prevention, scaffold use, and site safety); (2) an additional 30-hour OSHA class; and (3) an 100-hour training program approved by the DOB.
Furthermore, the law requires supervisors to complete additional training on-site safety plans, toolbox talks, safety meetings, drug and alcohol awareness, and more. The City hopes to fine-tune its training program by September 2020, at the latest.
Types of Construction-Related Accidents
According to the DOB, serious accidents can result from a variety of construction-related activities, including:
- Scaffold, shed, and/or fence installation: if not well-installed, these temporary structures may become dangerous.
- Excavation/soil work: soil-related operations may cause equipment to malfunction or topple.
- Worker falls: falls may result from a variety of unsafe conditions, including defective equipment.
- Falling materials: dropped or collapsed building materials may cause serious accidents.
- Construction equipment: a piece of construction equipment or machinery may fail or be misused and cause an accident.
Reasons for Construction Site Injuries
Serious and even deadly accidents may occur on construction sites for the following reasons:
- Struck by falling debris or materials
- Suffering electrocution
- Being crushed under building materials or heavy equipment
- Collapsing ground
- Chemical burns
- Power tool misuse or malfunction
- Lack of proper safety gear
- Defective equipment or materials
Types of Construction Site Injuries
Workers and supervisors on construction sites can suffer these types of injuries:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Serious burns
Other losses can include:
- Loss of income
- Insufficient worker compensation settlements
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and physical effects of disfigurement and serious injury
- Wrongful death compensation
- Funeral expenses
Who is at Fault?
When an accident occurs on a construction site, the following individuals may be liable:
- Third-party contractors
- Manufacturers of defective materials or equipment used on the site
- Property owners
- Equipment drivers
- Negligent contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, or independent electricians
- A combination of the above-listed parties
However, determining who is responsible for a construction-related accident can be complicated, and depends on how the accident occurred and the parties and/or equipment involved.
How to Get Help
Dealing with construction site accidents can be overwhelming, and those without legal experience may need help from an experienced attorney. Ivan M. Diamond is here to help! By carefully researching and understanding the circumstances of your accident, the condition of the job site, and any unaddressed safety hazards, Mr. Diamond can assess the validity of your case, calculate losses, and help seek adequate compensation.
If you have experienced a construction-site accident, or lost a loved one due to such an accident, you should contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond. Mr. Diamond is an experienced personal injury attorney, located in the Bronx, who will provide a free consultation and discuss the specifics of your case. Most importantly, you will not be required to pay any attorney fees if Mr. Diamond is unable to secure recovery in your case.
All you need to do is contact Mr. Diamond today to discuss your case, and then decide how you would like to proceed, based on your initial, free consultation.
If necessary, Mr. Diamond will even schedule to meet with you at your home, in the hospital, on the weekend, or in the evening. Call today at (788) 588-2000, or connect online, for your free consultation.