The New York City Buildings Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello announced some excellent news last week. Deaths related to construction accidents in New York City fell by 62% in 2013. That’s a massive proportional drop from the eight workers killed in 2012-especially considering the number of jobsite work permits increased over29% during that same time frame. While Mayor De Blasio’s office cites the drop in deaths as a step in the right direction, it is clear that there is more work to do. While deaths are down, injuries and accidents overall are up. Indeed, the numbers show that total construction accidents increased by nearly 6% citywide.
Worse yet, all three deaths reported last year were deemed “preventable” by investigators called in after the fact. Not surprisingly, falls from heights at New York construction sites claimed the lives of all three workers. In each case, jobsite supervisors were faulted for “lack of adequate fall protection.”
OSHA regulations require certain protective measures at job sites in order to prevent similar construction accidents in New York. For example, specifically engineered “guardrail systems” must be in place when workers are working above ground level, safety nets may be required depending on the type of jobsite and the height of the working platform, proper tethers “lifelines” may be required during certain operations, and personal fall arrest systems must meet strict guidelines. Any such fall prevention equipment must also be regularly inspected to ensure that it is working properly.
New York Labor Law enumerates numerous safety devices which must be in place to protect workers from falling and being hurt by falling objects. If any such safety device fails for any reason and causes the accident, property owners and general contractors for the construction site are held absolutely liable for the accident. If such accidents result in injury or death, injured construction workers or their surviving loved ones are entitled to compensation for their injuries, unpaid medical bills and past and future lost wages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact a New York City construction accident attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.