An investigative journalist writing for Crain’s New York Business has uncovered a major loophole in how construction accidents in New York City are officially recorded. The investigation tracked accidents that occurred in New York City during 2015. By comparing the actual number of fatalities to those listed in official Department of Buildings’ reports, the journalist discovered a shocking difference. The conclusion of the report was that a third (33%) of fatal construction accidents went unreported.
The major discrepancy was caused in the way the NYC Department of Buildings tracks fatalities. The agency is responsible for recording deaths, finding safety violations, and doling out punishments for contractors who create unsafe working conditions. However, it records only construction accidents in New York that involve a threat to public safety.
The investigators concluded that the New York DOB bases their interpretations of construction accidents on an outdated lawsuit (from 2013) which shifted the role of the DOB from protecting construction workers to protecting the public at large as well.
Under this framework, the DOB failed to record fatal construction accidents in New York City that claimed the lives of a construction safety coordinator, an iron worker, a U.S. armed forces veteran and a cement truck driver. In fact, 6 of 17 construction deaths in 2015 were not counted by the DOB. The DOB didn’t even investigate 4 of those 17 deaths.
OSHA, on the other hand, recorded all of these fatalities and omitted the death of a woman killed by falling debris while passing by a construction site that the DOB counted as a construction fatality.
These selective investigation practices will make it difficult for workers who are injured on the job to prove his or her personal injury case. Retaining an experienced New York City construction accident attorney is the only way to insure that all the necessary records will be obtained.
If you have been injured at a construction site, contact the competent New York City construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel. Call 800-734-9338 or 212-385-112 today.