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Construction Site Accidents: An Epidemic in NYC

The City of New York is experiencing a construction boom, with huge projects underway in every part of the city and across the boroughs. Construction workers have no trouble finding employment — but are they safe? The New York Times reports that the staggering numbers of injuries and deaths on construction sites are often the result of developers, builders, or contractors cutting corners on safety regulations. These accidents were completely avoidable had the responsible party adhered to New York’s strict construction safety laws.

Both federal and state laws are in place for worker protection. In a report entitled “The Price of Life,” it is revealed that nearly 20 percent of occupational fatalities occur in New York, even though the state’s economy only accounts for 4 percent of national employment. Working construction has inherent risks, but a failure to ensure construction workers have proper safety protections has left many families bereft after the death of a loved one, or facing the consequences of a loved one who is so severely injured that he or she can no longer work. The types of construction activities that have proven to be the most dangerous, as listed by the U.S. Department of Labor, include:

  • Working at an elevation. Falls to a lower level made up 49 percent of the construction industry fatalities in two recent years. With 80 percent of roofing and siding contractors being found to be in violation of safety laws, workers have died needlessly.
  • Electrocutions. Construction workers are often fatally injured when energized electrical lines come into contact with tools or other metal components.
  • Struck by Object. Falling tools or other items endanger all those who are busy working below. As these injuries are frequently to the head and skull, either death or traumatic brain injuries with permanent consequences can occur.
  • Caught in or Between. Workers that get caught in or between moving machinery, vehicles, items being moved by cranes or lifts, loaders, or other situations can leave a worker either permanently or fatally injured.

Nonunion Employers: The Biggest Offenders

OSHA reports that 79 percent of fatal New York construction accidents occurred at nonunion sites. Contracting companies that cut corners for higher profits, hire undocumented workers, and fail to provide the required safety gear or ensure that safety regulations are in place are putting workers in harm’s way. OSHA inspectors have found construction sites that have no fall protection, such as the required guard rails, and that workers were using ungrounded power tools that could result in electrocution. At least one serious violation of OSHA safety requirements was present in 80 percent of the fatal construction accidents.

OSHA reports that the following violations were common in accidents in which a construction worker died after a fall:

  • Broken guardrails
  • Failing anchor bolts
  • Cracked planks
  • Unprotected platforms
  • Scaffolding collapse in windy conditions
  • Stuck scaffolding buttons
  • Scaffolding that breaks
  • Scaffolding improperly anchored
  • Unprotected skylight
  • Broken ladders
  • Elevator shafts without barrier
  • Collapsed flooring or floor planks

Get Trusted Legal Counsel in a Construction Accident Case in New York

Attorney Justin Brandel represents injured construction workers, as well as families who have lost a loved one in a construction accident. He has an impressive record of successful cases, and is personally committed to every person he represents. Call today for immediate assistance in a New York construction accident injury case.

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