New York City is known for its hustle and bustle. A major aspect of that is the number of construction projects that are always underway. Since construction is so prevalent, there is a continuing need for workers to do the various jobs involved with a construction project. The work itself carries with it major risk of injuries and fatalities because of the heavy machinery, working at significant heights and other fundamentals associated with it.
It is unfortunate that injuries are common in the construction industry. Workers who have been hurt or families left behind after a fatality must be up to date on the common causes of construction accidents and know what they are entitled to.
Recently released statistics gave positive and negative results for construction safety in New York City. According to the New York City Department of Buildings, the overall total of safety incidents continued to decline. This is three consecutive years for which this is the case. In 2021, there were more than 700 incidents for which the DOB needed to respond. They happened on construction sites or near them. This was 10% fewer than there were in 2020. They ran the gamut from items dropping, property being damaged, collapses and accidents with injuries and death.
The numbers have been getting incrementally better since 2019. That year was the first in which there was a decline in incidents in the previous 10 years. However, there is a negative aspect to the DOB results in that there were triple the injuries and one more person died than in 2020. To enhance safety, the DOB implemented substantive changes to how construction projects should be handled. For example, workers must be sufficiently trained and inspections have increased to spot areas where people are at risk.
The DOB also put in effect a “zero tolerance” policy focusing on safety. With that, there was a concerted effort to check for dangers. Nearly 7,500 worksites were inspected and almost 1,500 were issued a stop work order because workers were being placed in jeopardy. Contractors were fined due to their lack of adherence to the rules. This resulted in a noticeable decline in injuries with an average reduction of around seven per month. There are still other factors that must be considered. Around 800 fewer workers were employed in construction in 2021 when compared to 2020. As the nation moves back toward normalcy, this should be expected to increase.
The sheer physical and logistical nature of construction work lends itself to the potential for injuries. Federal, state and city entities try to ensure that workers are protected, but that is not always effective in avoiding construction accidents with injuries and loss of life. A worker could simply be doing their duties and be hit by an object from above. There might be a collapse of a scaffolding or floor. A chemical spill might lead to burns and disfigurement. Or they may face injuries or death because of the company or a fellow worker being negligent.
The investigation will assess the accident to try and find out what happened, but those who were hurt must also be shielded with their interests a primary focus. Workers’ compensation cases or a wrongful death claim must be fully investigated from the perspective of those who were involved. To cover for medical expenses, wage loss, the emotional impact of an untimely death and more, it is vital to know how to proceed. Having experienced assistance from the outset can protect victims and their family and help with a case.
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