Why Construction Site Accidents in New York Are on the Rise
Last year saw more fatal construction site accidents in New York than any other year in the last decade, according to an article in the Observer. Citing data from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the article reported 22 construction site fatalities in 2022.
Any life lost is one too many, especially when it comes to negligence on a job site. Workers are there to earn a living for themselves and their families. A catastrophic injury or death suffered while at work devastates the victim and/or their loved ones.
Why are construction site accidents in New York on the rise? What can be done to prevent these tragic accidents? Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi fights to defend the rights of workers injured on the job. Call our construction accident lawyers at (212) 543-1600 for a FREE case evaluation if you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed.
The Increase in Construction Site Accidents in New York
The Observer points out a correlation between the post-pandemic increase in construction and the rise in construction site accidents. According to the New York State Comptroller, “In 2020, construction spending in the City fell from a record high in 2019 to $55.5 billion, an 8.5 percent decline.” More importantly, tens of thousands of jobs were lost during this time.
Of course, the construction industry is trying to return to its former glory, representing “7.8% of New York City’s total economic output.” However, if the boom is costing workers’ lives, is it worth it?
Some construction companies will rush and cut corners to keep up with the demand for new construction projects. This could mean hiring less experienced workers who are more prone to accidents. Additionally, working under tight deadlines could mean shortcuts are being taken and safety procedures are being overlooked.
A lack of safety training and equipment is another factor contributing to the rise in construction site accidents in New York. Workers who are not adequately trained in safety procedures or provided with proper safety equipment are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, many construction companies are not investing enough in safety training and equipment, putting their workers at risk.
The struggle to regulate and oversee the construction industry is also a significant factor in the increase in accidents. The construction industry in New York “generated an estimated $85 billion in economic activity in 2020,” per the Comptroller. An industry working with that much money can always find ways to circumvent safety regulations if they deem them costly, putting workers at risk in the process.
Moreover, the Observer found that 17 of the 22 construction worker deaths last year happened on non-union work sites. A New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH) report from 2020 found that in 2018, non-union job sites were “especially dangerous for workers, with 86% of worker fatalities occurring on non-union sites in New York state and 83% in New York City.”
It seems clear that when workers can’t advocate for their own safety, they are exponentially more at risk for serious injury or death. Yet, only 30% of construction workers were unionized in the state of New York in 2021, per The State of the Unions 2022.
Knowing the Focus Four Hazards
The first step towards prevention is understanding the main hazards in the construction industry. To help bring attention to the dangers of construction, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) designed the Construction Focus Four Training.
Construction fatalities were responsible for 19% of the total workplace fatalities across all industries in 2021, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statistics. The Focus or Fatal Four hazards accounted for roughly 59% of those fatalities.
The hazards of the Focus Four include:
OSHA describes a fall hazard as “anything at your worksite that could cause you to lose your balance or lose bodily support and result in a fall.” These comprised 390 (40%) of the 986 construction deaths in 2021.
Struck-by hazards caused 75 (8%) construction deaths in 2021. These occur when an object or piece of equipment forcibly impacts a person. In these cases, the impact alone is responsible for the injury to the worker. Struck by injuries include those from:
- Falling objects
- Flying objects
- Swinging objects
- Rolling objects
Electrocutions result from a worker being exposed to a deadly amount of electrical energy. Often, this results from equipment coming into contact with overhead or underground power lines. Electrocutions made up 74 (8%) of the construction fatalities.
Caught-In or Caught-Between
A caught-in or -between fatality occurs when a construction worker is crushed between or beneath an object or caught in machinery. These were responsible for 29 (3%) construction workplace deaths.
Raising awareness of the Focus Four hazards and providing training could help to prevent further injury and death related to these causes. However, construction companies must prioritize safety over speed and profit. This means investing in safety training and equipment, enforcing safety regulations, and providing workers with the necessary resources to do their job safely.
Contacting a Lawyer After Construction Site Accidents in New York
It’s essential to contact a construction accident lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed in a work site accident. You need to focus on healing or mourning. This tragic event has wrecked you and your family; let us carry the weight of getting you fair compensation.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has the experience to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for your construction site accident in New York. We fight to obtain justice for our clients. Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi for a FREE case evaluation.