It is not a secret construction is categorized as one of the most dangerous fields to work in. OSHA reports one in five job-related deaths occur in construction. Specifically, in New York City, in the construction industry, 2018 saw its most dangerous year in a decade and 2019 is also turning out to be a tragic year for construction workers.
Despite these risks, every day thousands of New York workers head to their job sites to help build and repair structures in the five boroughs. Employees understand the construction hazards as they arrive on-site, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have rights.
“If you, or a loved one, have suffered due to an accident that occurred on a construction site, the construction accident attorneys at O’Dwyer & Bernstien are here to help you.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
Types of Construction Accidents
The construction industry is plagued by what the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls “the fatal four.” OSHA has compiled the statistics associated with each type of construction accident.
1. Falls: 39% of fatalities occur from workers falling off scaffolds, ladders, roofs, sidewalk bridges, or unprotected holes.
2. Struck by object: 8.2% of fatalities occur from falling, swinging, shifting, or misplaced objects, along with equipment malfunctions or vehicle/equipment strikes.
3. Electrocutions: 7.3% of fatalities occur from electrocutions, including exposed wiring, wet outlets, overhead power lines, and other negligent or careless maintenance relating to items with electrical currents.
4. Caught-in/between: 5.1% of fatalities occur when construction workers are crushed or caught-in equipment, collapsing structures, or other objects.
Many of these tragedies can be prevented by general contractors if they proactively plan and put worker safety as a priority above skimping on these measures to save money. Also following comprehensive Stop Work Authority standards adds another layer of protection for all workers.
New York Labor Laws Help Brooklyn Construction Workers
New York has strict criteria when it comes to construction sites. New York labor laws are designed to protect and prevent workers from being injured or killed. These precautionary measures are put in place for a reason, but unfortunately, some companies will try to skirt these laws to cut corners and shave off costs associated with projects. In doing so, they put their workers, visitors, and even passerby, at risk.
Labor Law 200
Section 200 of New York Labor Law provides protection for workers and visitors present on job sites. This legislation is structured to make certain company owners and contractors take reasonable precautions to provide a safe environment. This includes taking steps to ensure equipment, machinery, and devices are safe. This law also adds requirements for job sites to have adequate guardrails and lighting.
Labor Law 240
Commonly known as the “Scaffolding Law”, Section 240 is designed to protect the rights of construction workers who fall or are struck by falling objects while on the job. This law requires company owners and contractors to provide their workers with proper scaffolding and other protective measures, including but not limited to scaffolding, hoists, hangers, ropes, slings, ladders, and stays, to keep them safe. You can read more about Scaffolding in our NYC Scaffolding Accident Prevention Guide.
Labor Law 241
Section 241 is specific to demolition and excavation, along with the equipment needed for these activities. Company owners and contractors are required to take reasonable acts to provide safety mechanisms to protect their workers from hazards related to these tasks. This includes the way flooring is constructed and the security of any hoisting apparatus or elevators used. This law also requires equipment to be used and stored in a way where workers and visitors to the job site won’t be subjected to unnecessary risks.
“A Brooklyn construction accident lawyer can help you to understand your rights under the law and determine if your accident is covered under any of these three sections. Most often, these laws do protect the worker.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
More Action Needs To Take Place To Prevent Accidents
Employers should never ignore precautions, but realistically it happens. Unfortunately, construction companies and general contractors in New York City are notorious when it comes to committing building and job site violations. In 2018, there were 402 injuries and six construction accident-related fatalities. As of June 2019, 287 injuries and five fatalities had already occurred, making it clear work-related injuries happening to construction workers is a growing problem.
New York City has significantly upped its vigilance in protecting construction workers by passing Local Law 196.
- Increased fines for violations found at construction worksites
- Added 150 inspectors to check on job sites
- Required additional supervisors to be assigned to construction sites
- Mandated additional worker training requirements.
This initiative was signed into law in 2017 and will be fully phased in by September 2020. Adding more protective laws for workers is a step in the right direction, but it’s clear the city has more work to be done to address the ongoing violations occurring on job sites – falling objects, falls, and other devastating events leading to injured workers is far too common an occurrence.
How A Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you, or a loved one, have been the victim of a work-related injury, a Brooklyn construction accident lawyer can help. A devastating accident can have a permanent effect on your entire family. You and your loved ones deserve justice for your pain and suffering. You also deserve compensation for any lost wages or to cover medical expenses resulting from the accident.
The experienced and knowledgeable injury attorneys at O’Dwyer & Bernstien will carefully go over the events and conditions surrounding the accident. We’ll determine if you have a personal injury, product liability, and/or wrongful death case. If there is any construction-related negligence, we’ll find it, apply the proper legal strategy, and work hard to prove your case(s).
To learn more about how to protect your rights when an accident injury or wrongful death occurs, our Brooklyn construction law firm can help. Insurance companies may not necessarily be on your side, but we’ll stand with you every step of the way. We’ll examine the situation, provide legal advice and determine if yours is an accident that could have been prevented. Give O’Dwyer & Bernstien a call at 212-571-7100 or contact us online for a free consultation. We’re here to help and are just a phone call away.