New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety Violations are a Leading Cause of Construction Worker Fatalities in New York

Posted on Mar 17, 2017 in Construction Accidents

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of families who have been forced to get help from our New York City construction accident lawyers so the family can obtain just compensation.  More families need to get legal help pursuing claims for death benefits because there are more construction workers dying on New York City construction sites.

The number of fatalities has risen dramatically as construction work has increased. Unfortunately, Metro U.S. New York reports that the majority of fatalities among construction workers in New York have occurred due to safety violations.

Safety Violations are a Leading Cause of NY Construction Deaths

In New York State, the total number of construction worker fatalities increased from 33 to 55 between 2011 and 2015, with 25 of the fatalities happening in New York City.  A number of possible factors can help to explain the rise in fatalities, including the fact that the improving economy has prompted a building boom in New York.

One cause of the rising fatality rate which cannot be overlooked is the fact that many construction sites have safety issues. According to a report called Deadly Skyline, which was prepared and released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, fully 90 percent of construction worker fatalities occurred as a result of a workplace safety violation.

Many construction workers and their families are surprised to find this rate so high because employees are supposed to be provided with a safe worksite and are supposed to be protected from safety violations. The problem is, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is supposed to provide this protection and OSHA cannot effectively investigate every construction worksite before tragedy happens.

OSHA is actually investigating fewer construction worksites, even as construction increases. As Metro U.S. New York reports, safety inspections made by OSHA dropped from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015.  Understaffing and inadequate funds are both big problems for OSHA, both of which can make it hard for this agency to effectively prevent companies from violating safety rules.

Some companies are more likely than others to violate safety rules, including companies that also happen to violate wage and hour laws.  There is also some evidence to suggest that unionized construction sites tend to be less dangerous than non-unionized worksites.  The Deadly Skyline research, for example, revealed that 75 percent of sites where there was a fatality were not union sites.

The New York committee which released the Deadly Skyline report put forth a 12-point recommended action plan to try to improve site safety so there aren’t so many violations or so many fatalities.  However, it remains unclear whether the recommendations will be implemented or not.

As long as workers keep getting sick or passing away on-the-job, it will be important for injured construction workers and their families to know how to get benefits for a work injury. Contacting Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff for help after an injury or fatality happens is a good idea for victims so they can have an advocate on their side to help them fight for benefits they deserve. Contact us today.

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