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How dangerous is construction work?

Some occupations put workers at risk of serious injury every day. For those who work in the construction industry, there are many onsite hazards that are a regular part of the job, even when all safety protocols and regulations are in place. Although job experience can help when know what precautions to take to avoid injury, one slip, even by a seasoned worker, can be fatal.

The construction industry represents a significant part of the job force in New York and across the country, with 11.4 million workers in 2019. At that time, employment growth in the construction industry had increased by 25% since 2011, and among Hispanic segment of the workforce, the number of construction workers went up by 55%. Sadly, fatal injuries among Hispanic workers also rose by 90%.

What are the fatal four risks?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that in 2018, one in five workplace fatalities from the private sector were construction worker deaths. The main causes of these deaths were:

  • Falls

  • Struck-by incidents

  • Electrocution

  • Caught-in between

Falls from poorly secured scaffolding, hidden gaps, concealed holes or unstable structures were the main cause of death among workers, accounting for a third of all fatal injuries. Along with falls, electrocution from hidden, exposed, or ungrounded wiring, workers struck by a heavy object, or workers caught in machinery or crushed by equipment or a collapsed structure, contributed to more than half of all construction worker deaths.

How do I file a claim?

OSHA has strict regulations for the protection of workers from on-the-job accidents, requiring that construction companies, managers and contractors adhere to a standard of safety and hazard prevention guaranteeing safe workplace conditions. If a worksite does not adhere to these standards, and a worker’s injuries are a direct result of unsafe working conditions, it is possible to file a negligence claim. The plaintiff would have to prove:

  • A breach in the employer’s or other overseeing party’s duty to an industry-wide standard for providing safe working conditions

  • That the defendant did not use reasonable care in the exercise of this duty

  • That this lapse of reasonable care caused the accident and injury

For New Yorkers in the five boroughs, worker’s compensation will cover claims for any reason up to a certain limit, but settling this way also shields the employers from liability in incidents of negligence. It can help to know where to look to review the circumstances of your case to find the best option for receiving just compensation for your claim.

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