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Do ‘NRCM’ Industry Workers in New York Face a Higher Risk of Injury?

Posted on November 10, 2016 by Kelly Wolford
Our New York construction accidents lawyers look into reports that suggest ‘NRCM’ industry workers face a higher risk of injury.

A recent report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics presents workplace injury and illness data for workers in the natural resources, construction, and maintenance (NRCM) industries.

The following considers the question of whether or not workers within the NRCM industry face a higher risk of injury than do other workers, and how and when an injured worker can file a third party personal injury liability claim for damages.

Facts and Statistics About Workers and Injuries in Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance

The report cited above states that more than 11 million people work in the NRCM industry. While this may seem significant, it is actually the smallest of the five high-level civilian occupation groups; the most populous is management, business, science, and arts occupation, which employs 43 million workers.

For clarification, the following occupations are considered to be NRCM industry-specific jobs:

  • Maintenance and repair workers – general
  • Construction workers
  • Carpenters
  • Automotive service technicians and mechanics
  • Electricians.

Other occupations also fall into the NRCM category, although these are occupations that employ fewer people than does the industry listed above. Other occupations are watch repairers, fishers, farm workers, and animal breeders.

The Prevalence of Work-Related Injuries Amongst those in the NRCM Industry

As stated above, NRCM is the least populous high-level civilian occupation group, with just over 11 million people. However, despite this, there are more missed days from work due to work-related injuries amongst NRCM workers than there are amongst workers in any other civilian occupation group category. The incident rate – which refers to the number of days missed from work for work-related injuries and illnesses per 10,000 workers – is 107.1 for all other occupations; for the NRCM industry, that number skyrockets to 191.6.

What Types of Injuries Are Most Common?

Natural resource, construction, and maintenance workers are laborers, meaning that they use their bodies to move, carry, grow, build, repair, or construct things – commonly involving heavy objects or machinery – on a daily basis. As such, it makes sense that injuries in this category are more common; there are simply more hazards.

The types of injuries that are most common amongst NRCM workers include injuries to the trunk, hand, and head. However, while these types of injuries are more common in this industry, and are reported at a much higher rate than are other injury types, all worker injury types are higher amongst NRCM workers. This includes injuries to the:

  • Neck
  • Shoulder
  • Arm
  • Wrist
  • Eyes
  • Ankle
  • Foot
  • Knee.

While, as stated above, there are more inherent risks in the natural resources, construction, and maintenance industry, accidents are not inevitable. Rather, most accidents occur because of human errors and a lack of appropriate safety standards or safety equipment. In fact, nearly all workplace accidents are completely preventable.

What Can I Do If I Am Injured On the Job?

There are options for recovering compensation if you are injured on the job, whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, and regardless of any worker protections that your employer may have in place. Your options for recovering compensation after a workplace accident include:

  • Filing a third-party liability claim against a negligent party; or
  • Filing a lawsuit against a negligent employer.

Filing a Third-Party Liability Claim

A third party lawsuit is a claim against a negligent third party whose fault caused your accident and injuries. For example, if you were working on a farm when a defective piece of machinery jammed, resulting in the loss of your arm, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective piece of machinery. In order to recover compensation for your losses, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty of care, and that you suffered damages as a direct result. Damages that you can seek in a third party liability claim include compensation for all economic and noneconomic losses.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

Typically, lawsuits against an employer are prohibited, as employers have civil immunity from liability. However, there are some exceptions to this law. For example, under New York’s “scaffold law,” an employer or contractor who fails to fulfill their duty to workers to ensure their safety when working at heights could be held liable if the lack of safety precautions results in a worker’s fall and subsequent injury or death.

Injured construction workers can also bring a lawsuit against their employer/contractor, per New York labor law section 241(6) if the employer/contractor fails to provide a reasonably safe job site, and a worker is injured as a result. The injured worker must prove negligence in order to recover compensation.

You can read more about New York statutes for protecting laborers’ ability to seek damages from their employer by referring to New York Construction Law on our website.

It’s Time to Get to Work on Your Claim

One of the reasons that workers in the NRCM industry are injured at a much higher rate than are workers in other industries is that employers and contractors often fail to take the proper measures to protect workers, as do other industry players – i.e. property owners, other companies, manufacturers.

When the negligence of another party leads to your workplace injury, and you incur medical bills, experience pain and suffering, and are prevented from earning a wage after your accident, you may deserve to be compensated. At the law offices of Powers & Santola, LLP, we will work hard for you. We have represented countless workers in our state.

When you need a legal advocate in Albany or Syracuse who understands the civil system and your right to file a lawsuit through it, we are here to help. Contact our experienced lawyers today to get started.