A new report shows that the number of fatal construction accidents in New York City has dramatically increased over the past few years as the number of building site inspections has decreased. Experts say that the lack of oversite has allowed contractors and supervisors to become lax in their duty to protect workers.
The study, compiled by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, found that in 2011 there were 17 fatal construction accidents across New York City. In 2015 that number jumped to 25-a 47% increase! This translates to a family losing a loved one once every three weeks.
In 2011, between fatal and non-fatal construction accidents, there were just 128 construction accidents. In 2015, that figure mushroomed to an astounding 435-an increase of over 300%.
The most common type of construction accidents in New York City were falls from heights-representing about 59% of all accidents. Nationwide, falls are only responsible for roughly 36% of all jobsite deaths. During this same period of time the number of jobsite inspections by OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration) dropped from just under 3,000 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015.
While it’s unfair to say that the 27% drop in inspections has directly caused the increase in construction accidents in New York City job sites, it’s clear that the neglect of property owners and construction general contractors has contributed to the number of construction workers injured and killed on the job. OSHA’s statistics show that roughly 70% of inspections result in citations-citations that can save workers from preventable accidents.
New York Labor Law holds a property owner and the general contractor absolutely responsible when the failure to provide safety equipment contributes or causes the fall. A civil lawsuit can recover for the worker and his or her family pain and suffering, past, present and future lost wages and more.