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Workplace Injuries: Construction Accidents in NYC and How to Protect Yourself

Have you or your loved one been injured in a construction accident? You may be eligible to file a legal claim. New York City has seen a rise in construction accidents - and construction workers need to know how to protect themselves.

New York City is in the midst of a building boom - with the greatest construction activity of all other major cities in the United States. According to the recent study by Dodge Data & Analytics, the New York City metro area's construction projects worth $15 billion from January to May of 2018.

This boom comes with a price. The number of construction accidents increased by 18.4%. Last year's accident number of 386 rose to 457 and the number of injuries increased from 401 to 469, about 17%. The death toll also rose from 4 to 8, according to a construction brief published in September 2018.

What types of injuries and accidents are happening?

Falls:

Most NYC construction worker deaths are caused by falls - more than half (58%) of unintentional fatal injuries. Workers fall mostly from scaffolds (25%), then ladders (16%), and roofs (11%), according to an NYC health survey. Other common construction-related deaths are being struck by something on the job site or being crushed or caught between objects or equipment.

Hazards and Injuries:

Falling objects, Pneumoconiosis (a lung disease from inhaling dust like asbestos), accidents involving heavy machinery, accidents from improper signaling, poor site maintenance, explosions, and fires are all devastating incidents that can cause construction injuries or accidents.

These types of construction accidents can lead to amputations; burns; electrocution; eye and lung injuries; broken and fractured bones; paralysis; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); spinal cord injuries; toxic exposure; traumatic brain injuries and others.

How do construction workers protect themselves?

According to NYC Vital Signs, "At least one serious safety violation was cited in more than 90% of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fatality investigations."

Construction Workers:

As a construction worker, it is your responsibility to look out for your own wellbeing at work. Be sure to pay close attention to work safety practices and report any site hazards to your employer or to OSHA. If you find yourself having to report a hazard to OSHA, know that your information is confidential and you can also report anonymously.

Know the law and your health and safety rights. It is against the law for employers to require a worker to do anything involving a safety risk if they haven't received proper training. OSHA investigates cases of retaliation against employees should they report unsafe conditions - regardless of immigration status.

Responsibility:

It is the property owner, general contractor and construction company's responsibility to regularly run site inspections for fall hazards and proper use of scaffolds - this includes guardrail systems and safety equipment. The companies must ensure the safety programs are up to date and that safety training is conducted in a language employees understand.

This doesn't always happen. If you notice unsafe conditions in your workplace report it to your supervisor as soon as possible. If your supervisor does not take measures to solve the problem, call OSHA.

What to do if you're injured on a job-site.

Fortunately, most construction site accidents can be prevented if workers are following safety precautions like ensuring harnesses are clipped in, installing and maintaining proper guardrails, and maintaining a safe worksite.

In the unfortunate event that you are injured on a construction site take the following steps:

  • Get medical attention for your injuries.
  • Fill out the OSHA accident report form (this is extremely important).
  • Report the incident to your superior and make note of the person you notified.
  • Get the contact information of people who may have seen the accident take place.
  • If possible, take photos of your injuries and the place you were injured. If there was a tool or piece of equipment involved, keep it or document it somehow.

Contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your claim. 

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