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Most Common Fatal Construction Accidents in New York City

New York Construction Accident

Every day thousands of New York City construction workers diligently go to work knowing the potential hazards they may encounter in the course of their duties. While their jobs are dangerous, they should also have a reasonable expectation their employers and supervisors will make a sincere effort to ensure their worksites are as safe as they can possibly be.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Employers often put profits ahead of safety and this can lead to tragic consequences for those who are left suffering in the aftermath of a NYC fatal construction accident. The law firm of O’Dwyer & Bernstien has been fighting for the rights of New Yorkers for more than 100 years. Our compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys represent construction workers and their families throughout the New York City metropolitan area.

‘Fatal Four’ Construction Accidents

Conditions leading to workplace accidents can often be prevented if contractors and building owners take the time to correct problematic areas, especially in those that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) deems the “Fatal Four.” OSHA identifies the four leading causes of construction accidents on job sites as follows.


Fall hazards are, by far, the most common type of construction accident in the United States. In 2018, OSHA reported 338 out of 1,008 total deaths (33.5%) in the construction industry were attributed to falls. This is not insignificant. Many of these falls occur to construction workers falling off scaffolding or staging, roofs, ladders, girders, structural steel, or heavy equipment. They can also occur when workers fall through floors from elevated

Struck by an object

Construction accident injuries frequently occur when a worker is struck by an object. Struck by an object accidents account for 11.1% of all construction fatalities according to OSHA’s statistics. Examples of “struck by” construction accidents include falling objects, rigging failures, equipment malfunctions, and loose or shifting materials. This classification also includes workers who are injured or killed from being run over by a moving vehicle.


Electrocution accidents, unfortunately, occur more often than they should on NYC construction worksites. If a worker is exposed to a deadly amount of electrical energy, they can suffer fatal results. According to OSHA, electrocutions account for 8.5% of construction-related deaths. Electrical hazards found on worksites include faulty wiring, damaged equipment, improper cord use, wet conditions, improper grounding, and working too close to power wires.

Caught in/Between

Caught in/between accidents occur when construction workers are caught in or compressed by equipment or objects. This category also includes workers getting trapped, caught, or struck by collapsing structures, equipment, or other heavy objects. According to OSHA, 5.5% of fatalities on worksites are caused by caught in/between accidents.

Sadly, many New York City worksites routinely have conditions that lead to the types of construction accidents associated with the “Fatal Four,” and the consequences are serious injuries to workers. Employers, supervisors, and property owners who put more attention on safety can effectively reduce the number of accidents occurring. Sadly, this isn’t occurring at the rate it should be.

Hazards Found at NYC Construction Sites

The hazards found at construction sites are problematic across the United States, but unfortunately NYC construction sites are consistently found to have dangers that either go unnoticed or are intentionally neglected. Either way, construction sites should be inspected to ensure safety standards are adhered to.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the construction industry has more deaths than any other industry in New York City. Furthermore, New York City data indicates deaths occurring on construction worksites are up 33 percent and injuries are up 221% when compared to five years ago. This rise in construction-related injuries and deaths is unacceptable.

A New York City law passed in 2017 mandated contractors and building owners to report all injuries and deaths occurring at worksites to the NYC Department of Buildings. Statistics indicate nearly not enough of them are doing so and, worse, some media reports suggest the agency itself is underreporting the number of construction accidents occurring.

New York officials have added inspectors and increased penalties associated with hazardous conditions at construction sites, but it’s not enough. Reports indicate as many as one-third of the accidents found by OSHA are not listed on New York City logs. It’s also estimated one-fourth of the 45,000 construction sites in the city are not complying with safety regulations. These numbers staggering. No worker should ever be exposed to dangerous conditions due to someone else’s negligence and irresponsibility. It’s simply unacceptable.

How A Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help

If someone you love was fatally injured during an accident occurring on a New York City construction worksite, the caring and experienced attorneys at O’Dwyer & Bernstien can help. We understand the excruciating pain family members experience after losing a loved one due to a fatal construction accident, especially in a wrongful death situation that could have potentially been prevented.

Our lawyers dedicate themselves to protecting the rights of the families left behind after a construction-related tragedy. Our attorneys meticulously look at each case and determine any negligence or reckless decisions made leading to unsafe conditions at a construction site. If we find any negligence committed by a contractor or building owner, we promise to provide you with sound legal advice and will vigorously work to prove their recklessness.

To learn more about construction accidents or to receive a free consultation, please contact O’Dwyer & Bernstien today at 212-571-7100.

Victor Greco

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A Senior Trial Lawyer, and partner at O'Dwyer & Benstien Law Firm, Victor has won verdicts and settlements valued over millions of dollars on behalf of his personal injury clients.