In the last federal fiscal year, there were 18 workers killed at construction job sites in New York City. This was an increase compared with 12 worker fatalities in the prior federal fiscal year, and 7 deaths two years prior. The increase in fatalities at construction sites throughout the city has prompted concerns among workers, public officials and safety advocates. The New York Daily News reported that thousands rallied recently to draw attention to the problem and demand greater safety measures in order for workers to be better protected.
The construction field is a high risk field even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, employers throughout the New York City area are failing to fulfill their basic safety obligations to make worksites as safe as possible. While it is a good thing for workers and safety advocates to draw attention to the problems, ultimately construction companies and employers need to take responsibility for protecting their workers on-the-job.
If a worker does get hurt or killed, the injured employee or his surviving family members should consult with a New York workers’ compensation law firm to make sure that benefits are obtained and employers are held accountable for their safety failures.
Workers, public officials, clergy, safety advocates, and community members are all concerned about the dramatic increase in construction worker deaths and they all came together at a recent rally in front of City Hall to draw attention to the rising death rates and to demand change.
The rally included a bagpipe-led procession and rally participants carried a casket to symbolize the workers who died on the job over the course of 2015. A hardhat and candle were also placed at the location of each death before the rally began to honor the workers who had died.
The president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York expressed concern that “tragedies at construction sites have become all too common,” and went on to say that everyone in New York should be outraged that “irresponsible developers and contractors increasingly are putting their bottom lines ahead of the workers who are the lifeblood of their business.”
All developers and anyone who hires construction workers should be taking precautions to prevent injuries and fatalities. Following rules set by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and following best practices for safety is essential to protect workers and prevent incidents from occurring.
However, workers need to be aware that negligence or failure to follow safety regulations are not relevant factors in determining if an injured employee can make a workers’ compensation claim. Injured workers can always pursue a claim for benefits, even in situations where employers did not do anything wrong or violate any regulations.
Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to provide broad protection so every construction worker injured on-the-job is covered for medical care and disability income. To learn more about getting benefits after a workplace injury or fatality, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff for help today.