Falls are once again the number one construction accident in New York and result in the highest percentage of fatalities. Falls from heights in New York represent 15% of all fatal jobsite accidents. To put that in perspective that rate is twice that of the next most fatal accident type: contact with equipment.
Improperly maintained scaffolding or improper scaffolding safety equipment (such as netting and fall arrest harnesses) are the two main contributing factors to fatal construction falls. In short, scaffolding, and working on it, is dangerous. However, 65% of all construction workers (an estimated 2.3 million men and women) from find themselves on these precarious platforms at one time or another.
New York long ago recognized the dangers of scaffolding. In 2006, the State toughened the existing Labor Laws Section 240 and 241 (elevation risk related laws) which require the addition of safety barriers on scaffoldings and other raised platforms as well as additional bracing, regular inspection, and the use of approved fall arrests systems (netting, harnesses, etc.) when necessary. Under the New York Labor Law, if the accident was caused in whole or in part, by a violation of the Labor law, the owner of the property and the general contractor for the construction project can be held absolutely liable for the accident and ensuing injuries regardless if the worker contributed to the cause of the accident.
Major contributing factors to the fatal falls from heights New York City this past year include improper installation of safety barriers; failure to lockout fall hazards (such as open elevator doors), and failure to properly attach fall arrest equipment when necessary. These accidental deaths were all ruled preventable in Department of Buildings and OSHA investigations.
If you’ve lost a loved one to a fatal fall or have yourself been injured on the job, contact an expert New York City construction accident attorney immediately to discuss you case. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.