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Are Construction Sites in NY Safer Now Than They Were 10 Years Ago?

New York construction workers are routinely tasked with job duties that put them at risk of serious and fatal injuries. Indeed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) routinely identifies the “fatal four” types of injuries that happen on construction sites. Those construction injuries include falls, struck-by injuries, caught-in or between injuries, and electrocutions. In total, about 20 percent of reported workplace fatalities occur on construction sites, accounting for more than 1,000 deaths every year. Beyond fatal injuries, thousands more serious and nonfatal injuries happen on construction sites, and many of these injuries occur in New York. Despite the high rate of construction site injuries in New York, have the safety initiatives undertaken by the state made any progress in reducing the injury risks that construction workers face? 

While the total number of fatal injuries has declined slightly in New York State over the last few years, the overall rate of injuries remains extremely high, suggesting that additional safety protections need to be put into place to protect construction workers. Our New York construction accident lawyers can tell you more, and we can also assist you with a claim for financial compensation under New York Labor Law if you were injured on a New York construction site. 

Understanding How New York Construction Accident Injuries Have Changed in the Last Decade

In the last decade, the total number of construction fatalities in New York State have decreased slightly according to an NYCOSH report (New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health), yet “New York State’s construction industry remained highly dangerous.” In total, the number of fatal construction accident injuries in New York state declined slightly each year since 2016, and by about 5 percent from 2018 to 2019. However, the total number of fatal construction site accidents in New York City actually rose, with an increase of about 10 percent between 2018 and 2019.

A majority of workers who sustained severe and fatal injuries on New York State construction sites over the last several years were non-union construction workers. Indeed, nearly 80 percent of construction workers who were killed on the job across New York State were non-union construction workers.

Construction Safety Legislation

While injured construction workers have been eligible to file lawsuits holding project owners and their contractors accountable for failing to provide all site workers with adequate safety devices for quite some time, some recent legislation in New York has been aimed at making construction sites safer in New York City and New York State more generally. For example, Governor Hochul signed new legislation on Labor Day in 2021 to “help boost workplace safety,” according to a press release.

Additional Safety Measures Recommended in New York

To reduce the overall rate of serious and deadly construction accidents, the NYCOSH has recommend some of the following safety requirements across the state, some of which have been put into practice in New York City: 

  • Required training and certification for all construction workers in New York;
  • Preserved protections under New York Labor Law;
  • Increased penalties for contractors who violate safety laws;
  • Expanded criminal prosecutions for contractors who are negligent;
  • Expanded budget for OSHA to conduct additional safety inspections on construction sites; and
  • Increased protections for immigrant workers who are disproportionately affected by construction accident injuries.

Greater attention to these safety issues, and implementation of the “Zero Tolerance” initiative across New York State, could improve construction site safety in places like Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.

How to Seek Compensation for a Construction Site Injury in Upstate New York

If you were injured on a New York construction site, you may be eligible to seek multiple forms of compensation. In addition to being eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may also be eligible to file a claim against the construction site employer for negligence under New York Labor Law. Sections 200, 240, and 241 allow injured construction workers or their survivors in the event of a fatal injury to sue certain construction employers for negligence in addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Our Syracuse construction injury lawyers can evaluate your case and can discuss your options with you for seeking financial compensation by filing a lawsuit.

Contact Our Upstate New York Construction Accident Lawyers

While New York has put certain safety precautions in place with the aim of reducing the rate of construction accidents in New York City and in New York State more broadly, the rate of serious and fatal injuries remains high. Our dedicated construction accident attorneys in upstate New York can speak with you today about filing a claim and seeking compensation for your losses. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer at our firm for assistance. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP for more information.

 

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