Rise in Safety Lapses & Accidents Reveals Dark Side of NY’s Building Boom

According to the New York Times the surge of buildings being constructed in New York has been deemed as another building boom, similar to the building  boom of 2008. The Department of Buildings in New York agreed to the construction of 52,618 residential units over the last fiscal year, a massive 156% increase from the previous fiscal year, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the New York Building Congress.  Sudden urgency could also be attributed to the expiration of an abatement program this past January, which waived property tax in exchange for providing some affordable housing.

While the push for new construction is good news for business and the economy, including the creation of more jobs, it also has created a rise in work-place accidents and deaths.

  • Eighteen workers died during the last federal fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015) at job sites in NYC and close to five thousand died overall throughout the United States.
  • In 2015, the number of construction related accidents in NYC rose from 231 to 323, which marked a staggering 40% increase

THE “FATAL FOUR”:  There are four leading causes of death identified within the construction trade.  These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.1%) the construction worker deaths in 2014 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  1. Falls (39.9%)
  2. Electrocution (8.5%)
  3. Struck by Object (8.4%)
  4. Caught in/between (1.4%)

SO WHO IS RESPONSIBLE WHEN A WORKER IS INJURED OR KILLED ON THE JOB,  THE COMPANY OR THE WORKER?
Labor laws in NY are very strict and are setup to  protect workers by placing ultimate responsibility for safety practices upon owners and general contractors, instead of the workers who are not in a position to protect  themselves.  This means that all owners and general contractors must  provide a safe workplace,  appropriate protection equipment and supervision. There is a strict set of federal safety standards that all businesses must adhere to and is monitored via OSHA , the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. Violations of these regulations may serve to support a claim for a construction accident.

GETTING HELP WITH A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURY

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on a construction site, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights

  • First and foremost get medical attention for your injuries
  • Next, report the injury to your employer and/or construction site manager and note the name and position of the person notified.
  • Obtain names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
  • If possible, preserve any evidence related to your accident. Try taking photographs of the work area, any injuries and if you can, keep the equipment or tool that was involved in your injury.
  • Contact an experienced construction injury law firm to evaluate your potential claim.