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NYC construction fatalities on the rise: Remedies for loved ones

Unsafe work sites in New York contribute to deadly construction accidents.

Construction is booming in New York City. The deputy commissioner of enforcement for the city’s Department of Buildings states the city currently has approximately 45,000 active construction sites. Although the growth in this market can translate to more job opportunities, it also comes with risk. In addition to the basic risks that come with construction work, there is concern that sites in New York are not following safety regulations. Of the current active sites, the commissioner estimates 25% are not in compliance with safety regulations.

Unfortunately, the problem is getting worse. A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the construction industry has more on-the-job deaths then any other market. City data paints an even more grim picture, finding work site deaths have increased by 33% when compared to data from 2014.

From statistics to reality: A look into the most recent accidents. The numbers are shocking, the stories tragic. Data shows the construction industry in New York City has already reported three fatalities in April of 2019 – one death involved a worker crushed by a retaining wall, another a worker was fatally injured when struck by a beam, and yet another a worker struck by a crane.

Victims have not only lost loved ones, but suffer further frustration due to the fact that the accident was the result of the site’s failure to follow safety precautions.

Government oversite attempts to address the problem. The government currently requires 10 hours of safety training for construction workers. In 2020, lawmakers have set this number to increase to a required 40 hours of safety training. If an inspector determines an employer is in violation of this requirement, the site will face a $5,000 fine.

Officials promise to conduct more inspections to address the problem. The acting commissioner for the Department of buildings stated he would send out 90 additional inspectors to perform safety sweeps at constructions sites located in various parts of New York City. But the city could do more. A representative of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health notes the city could revoke the licenses for companies that are in violation of safety standards. Construction safety advocates argue taking away licenses for repeat violations would increase the safety of the sites by both punishing those who violate the regulations and deterring others from similar wrongdoing.

Victims left behind: Relief for those who lose loved ones in a construction accident. Fatal construction accidents injure those left behind. In addition to the loss of a loved one, the remaining family members loose the income the loved one brought home. Legal remedies are available that can help.

Families can pursue a civil lawsuit to hold those who are responsible for the death of their loved one accountable. If successful, the suit can result in financial compensation to help cover the cost of lost wages and hospital bills.