New York residents are familiar with grim stories from the old days of construction. More than two dozen workers perished during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge; 60 died while working on the original World Trade Center. Regulations have been implemented since then in an effort to protect construction workers, but data suggests the problem continues in New York State.
A recent article pointed out that, in 2008, a number of crane accidents led to an overhaul of construction site safety rules. That year, there were 178 on-the-job injuries and 19 deaths at construction sites. The numbers decreased for a time, due in part to the economic crisis and slowdown of new construction.
In 2014, however, the number of injuries stood at 237, with 8 fatalities. The 2015 total is expected to be around 400 injuries, more than twice the 2008 total. Six construction workers have lost their lives this year to date.
A major factor behind these numbers is considered to be the extent to which the state’s strict safety codes go unenforced. Violations may persist on a job site until an actual accident draws regulators’ attention (by which point it’s too late to prevent an injury or death). Smaller construction sites also draw lower levels of oversight, with buildings of nine stories or fewer drawing only rare random inspections and typically not requiring a safety manager on site.
The problem is a complex one, although the danger to construction workers is plain and simple. A legal professional can help advocate for an injured construction worker and will help keep a case from becoming just another number on the books.
Source: Crain’s New York Business, “Unsafe at any height: It’s more dangerous than it has been in years to work in construction,” Joe Anuta, Nov. 8, 2015