The world is starting to open up again amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of life that is resuming as close to normal as possible is construction. As construction sites across New York open, new safety protocols are being implemented – or are they?
According to the New York Times, floor markings for social distancing, thermal forehead temperature scans, disinfection of tools, hand washing stations, and social distancing for deliveries are all becoming a reality for New York construction sites.
Yet some construction workers maintain that these practicing won’t stick around for long. Others worry that changes meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 may actually lead to more accidents as people get used to doing things differently.
Here’s what you need to know about New York construction accident laws in the midst of all these changes.
The Dangers on a Construction Site
Construction sites, even in non-pandemic times, are full of dangers to both workers and bystanders. Construction works often understand some of the inherent risks to the job such as operating machinery, performing tasks at elevated heights, and lifting heavy objects.
Safety practices and proper protocol are essential to any construction site. The issue now is that some of these procedures may be changing due to COVID-19, something that can add a new element of risk to doing the job.
The Common Causes of New York Construction Accidents
There are many ways someone can be injured on a construction site. Some of the most common are accidents involving scaffolding, but many other accidents involve improperly braced trenches, electrocution, and falls.
The most common injuries sustained from a construction accident include:
- Falling injuries
- Electrocutions from using tools or improperly shielded electrical lines
- Asphyxiation from inadequate air supply in confined workspaces
- Impact injuries from a collision with heavy equipment
- Impact injuries from tools and machinery used in demolition
This isn’t an exhaustive list of injuries sustained at construction sites, but it just goes to show how many variables there are and how dangerous construction work can be.
There’s a lot to keep track of on a normal building site. Add the new rules surrounding COVID-19, as well as wearing masks for social distancing, and suddenly there’s a lot more to stay on top of while construction workers are on the job site.
Who Is Responsible in a Construction Accident?
If you are injured in a construction accident, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities of parties at the site. When a construction accident occurs, it’s important to determine liability for any injuries sustained. Some of the following parties can bear all or some of the responsibility:
- Engineers and architects
- Site owners
- General contractors or sub-contractors
- Manufacturers of equipment or machinery
- Occupational Safety and Health compliance officers
When You’re Involved In a Construction Site Accident
For many construction site accidents, worker’s compensation insurance is the primary way to seek recompense. But for those who are injured beyond what may be covered by worker’s compensation insurance, such as lost income or medical expenses, a lawsuit may be in order.
You may want to pursue a lawsuit if you’re injured at a construction site due to:
- A defective product
- A toxic substance
- Intention conduct of the employer that caused that injury
- Injury caused by a third party
If you are not an employee but suffer an injury on a construction site, then there may be the cause of action to bring a lawsuit as well.