Why are NYC Construction Site Accidents On The Rise?
New York State laws protect workers on construction sites from the negligence of building owners and their contractors resulting in serious physical injury. The Lawyers at Goidel and Siegel stand ready to step up for any injured worker at a construction site due to the negligence of any liable party.
2022 was the second-highest year for construction site fatalities in New York City in nearly a decade. Last year alone, there were 22 construction-related deaths reported on job sites throughout the city’s five boroughs.
These numbers are alarming. They are a stark reminder that there is significant work to be done to improve safety conditions on construction sites. In the following informational guide, the legal team at Goidel and Siegel explore potential explanations and the recent laws that have been passed to increase protections for construction site workers.
Rise of Construction Accidents and Deaths in NYC
Construction workers are a vital part of the New York State economic development and growth. Unfortunately, many job sites are operated negligently, putting working-class New Yorkers at risk of serious injury. Construction site workers are exposed to numerous risks due to the nature of the profession requiring employees to utilize heavy machinery, lifts, and other dangerous industrial equipment. Unsafe conditions on construction sites can lead to a wide range of potentially serious incidents including crane accidents, forklift accidents, scaffolding accidents, and more.
Construction site accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, paralysis, and/or wrongful death. In 2022 alone there were 22 deaths due to employer negligence on a construction site. (source: Observer.com)
Construction Site Accident Liability
Construction companies and building owners are legally required to protect workers and provide proper equipment to enable workers to perform their jobs safely. Failure to do this could be grounds for liability.
Construction workers are often forced to work long hours in high-risk work environments. Such risks include, and are exacerbated by:
- Improper equipment
- A lack of Personal Protective Equipment
- Extreme weather conditions
- Inadequate training
- Poor job site management skills
- Failure to inspect, maintain, and perform repairs on job site equipment, including tools, cranes, lifts, tools, and other types of industrial machinery.
Protections for NYC Construction Site Workers
Legal protection is imperative for workers on high-risk job sites, especially those employed for construction-related projects. According to the Laborers’ International Union of North America’s Eastern Regional Vice President, Mike Hellstrom, every 5 to 6 days a construction site worker is killed in an on-the-job accident.
Advocates have fought for years to obtain fair, adequate, and safe working conditions on construction sites. Fortunately, state legislators have implemented several new laws and regulations providing protection for construction workers throughout all boroughs of New York City.
These legal provisions increase criminal liability and penalties for construction firms whose negligence results in worker injury or death.
NYC Union Labor Law
Union workers are protected under a series of federally governed legal provisions, including the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, the Railway Labor Act, and numerous other laws. Under these acts, the majority of unionized workers are protected and awarded securities such as:
- Protection from discrimination regarding efforts to establish a union.
- Protection from any form of interference in efforts to unionize.
- Protection from employer bargaining with a union that represents its employees.
- Protection from retaliation related to a legal complaint or other applicable circumstances.
Unfortunately, 17 out of the aforementioned 22 deaths were non-union workers. If you are not part of a union, you are still entitled to protection and may still be entitled to compensation. The below are a few initiatives taken to protect all workers.
In December 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul amended state law to increase criminal corporate liability for the serious injury and/or death of construction site workers across the state.
This legislation is known as Carlos’ Law. Carlos’ Law was developed after 22-year-old Carlos Moncayo of Queens, NY, was wrongfully killed on an NYC construction site.
Under Carlos’ Law, construction firms that are found responsible for employee deaths could face fines of up to $500,000. State and local government officials are hopeful that these increased penalties force companies to focus on improving job site conditions.
OSHA Protections for NYC Construction Workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed an extensive list of job site regulations that protect construction site workers from preventable injury. These laws cover processes such as machinery maintenance, worksite safety protocol, control of hazardous energy and personal protective equipment.
Workers are entitled to conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:
- Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace
- Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination
- Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Get copies of their medical records.
Failure to meet any OSHA guideline is grounds for legal liability. Construction companies that are found liable may be required to compensate affected workers and/or their families for damages such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- And various other expenses
If you or a loved one has been injured on or near a construction site in New York City, call the legal team at Goidel & Siegel for help.
NYC Department of Building Safety Campaign
The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has developed a comprehensive workplace safety campaign to improve worksite safety throughout New York City.
The purpose of the safety campaign is to ensure that worker safety remains a central priority for construction companies and that all safety requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are being met.
The DOB has been checking that companies are following safety protocols, providing safety equipment to workers, and making sure that construction sites are safe and compliant with safety regulations.
The DOB’s safety campaign began in January and is expected to continue throughout the winter months. The goal is to inspect every construction site in the city, making sure that all safety regulations and protocols are being followed. By doing so, the DOB aims to reduce accidents and injuries on construction sites and create a safer working environment for all construction workers in the city.
In addition to inspections, the DOB has been working with industry associations, labor unions, and other worker advocacy groups to improve safety protocols and promote safety awareness among workers. The DOB has also been conducting safety training programs for workers, as well as seminars and workshops for construction site managers and other industry professionals.
NYC Construction Accident Lawyer
Have you or a loved one been involved in a construction site accident that resulted in serious injury or death? An experienced NYC lawyer can help you gather evidence, build a case, and help you gain the maximum compensation allowed under the law.
Construction site injuries can lead to serious, debilitating, and life-changing consequences. Contact an NYC construction accident lawyer to build a case and obtain due compensation for on-the-job injuries and/or wrongful death.
Goidel and Siegel New York City Construction Accident Lawyers
Reach out to a team of bold, knowledgeable, and experienced New York City construction accident lawyers today. Goidel and Siegel have helped hundreds of clients throughout NYC obtain compensation for on-the-job injuries.
Goidel and Siegel have several firm locations to best serve their clients, including offices in NYC, New Jersey, and Long Island. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about what your case may be worth.