Too many times we learn about tragic stories about construction workers killed or injured in New York City. In mid-July, one worker died, and three others injured in a construction accident in Manhattan. While restoring a building’s façade, a molding near the building’s top broke loose and smashed into the scaffolding from which the men worked.
We have long known that the construction industry has an abundance of hazards. And the people dedicated to construction work understand that they work in a dangerous industry. Sometimes, these accidents prove to be preventable, especially when employers maintain a lax attitude toward worker safety.
Falls account for most fatal injuries
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) reported that 80 people died in construction-related accidents in the state in 2018. The 22 deaths reported in New York City accounted for nearly 28% of the fatalities statewide. And while construction fatalities in New York state declined by 10% in 2018 to 58, New York City experienced a 10% increase.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), a total of 5,250 workers died on the job in the U.S. in 2018. The vast majority – 4,779 – of those fatalities occurred in the private industry. This segment includes construction, which accounted for 1,008 or 21% of the private industry fatalities in the country.
The top four causes of construction-related fatal injuries contributed to the deaths of 591 people. That translated to nearly 59% of the fatalities among construction workers. That list includes:
- Falls (338 or nearly 34% of the construction deaths): Working regularly at heights on ladders, scaffolding and roofs remains dangerous.
- Struck by an object (112 or 11%): Falling objects can unsuspectingly strike as what happened in July to the workers in Manhattan.
- Electrocutions (86 or 8.5%): Overhead powerlines often prove dangerous.
- Caught-in/between (55 or 5.5%): Workers can be struck, snared and crushed by collapsing structures, equipment and construction materials. They also may die in a trench collapse.
The construction industry must continue to focus on worker safety. If you have been injured in a construction accident, you have every right to pursue legal action. And if your loved one died in a similar accident, it is time to pursue a wrongful death action.