It seems that everywhere you go here in New York, something is always under construction.
This construction also doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, even though New York has surpassed Zurich as the most expensive market for construction. With New York at the top, Zurich has fallen to number three behind San Francisco.
With so much construction happening, there’s a higher chance that construction workers will have accidents and injuries. In fact, this is exactly what we have been seeing. Construction worker injuries and deaths have steadily risen in New York over the past few years.
Let’s take a look at why we are seeing more construction-related accidents, and if you have sustained an injury, how fighting back may help protect both your future and others’ futures.
Why Is NY Experiencing an Increase in Construction Injuries and Deaths?
In 2015, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 25 fatal construction worker injuries in New York City. That number was up from 22 construction worker deaths in 2014, and only 17 construction-related fatalities in 2011.
Looking at all of New York State, there were 128 construction-related injuries and fatalities in 2011. But by 2015 that number had increased dramatically to a whopping 435.
Why are these injuries and fatalities experiencing such a significant increase?
One big reason may be that the number of safety inspections by OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – has decreased significantly.
In 2011, there were 2,722 federal safety inspections. Would it surprise you to hear that in 2015 there were only 1,966?
Why did this drastic drop in inspections, which are necessary to ensure the safety of our construction workers, happen?
A lot of it is because there just aren’t very many OSHA safety inspectors in New York. We had 82 inspectors in 2012, but in 2015 there were only 66.
The number of necessary inspections hasn’t changed. It’s actually most likely gone up due to the volume of construction projects constantly taking place. However, with fewer inspectors out there, they are unable to handle the workload. Unfortunately, the workers are the ones who suffer.
The Most Common Construction Accidents Are Preventable
OSHA has dubbed the most common causes of construction-related deaths the “Fatal Four.” In 2015, the Fatal Four accounted for 64 percent of construction worker fatalities.
Falls are the most common cause of construction-related accidents. From 2011 to 2015 here in New York, 59 percent of construction worker fatalities were the result of a fall. Nationwide, that number comes in at 39 percent.
Falls, however, are prevented by installing guardrails installed on the construction site wherever they are needed. Using safety harnesses and rope grabs can also provide an extra layer of safety to construction workers.
Getting struck by an object accounts for nearly 10 percent of construction worker deaths. These injuries are preventable-simply have barricades, fences, or safety nets to catch falling objects and debris.
Electrocutions are responsible for almost nine percent of construction worker deaths. Making sure your electrical worker has proper technical and safety training is mandatory. Nevertheless, making sure your other workers at least have basic electrical knowledge can help them on the job.
Finally, seven percent of construction worker deaths are the result of being caught-in/between objects or machines. Safety inspections can ensure that all equipment is in proper working order and taking precautions when using this equipment can prevent these types of accidents as well.
If we eliminated the Fatal Four, which can definitely be done, we potentially can save 602 construction workers’ lives every year.
Fair and Just Compensation for Your New York Construction Injury
Many construction-related injuries are covered by workers compensation, but if your construction site violated the necessary OSHA safety standards and regulations, you might be entitled to additional damages.
The only way you can know, though, is to reach out to an experienced New York construction accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to listen to the facts of your case and determine the best way to proceed to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.
Furthermore, by coming forward and fighting back, you could help protect other construction workers. A single lawsuit might not feel significant, but your case can bring awareness to construction safety issues faced by construction workers every day. This can lead to more inspections and safety measures put in place, making sure all construction workers are protected whenever they’re on the job.