Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | January 6, 2022 | Construction Accidents
The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) initiated a citywide “Zero Tolerance” construction safety enforcement campaign on June 1, 2021.
The zero-tolerance enforcement sweeps followed the deaths of three construction workers in New York City within two weeks. One of the fatal construction accidents was the result of a worker falling. In addition, there were seven building-construction-related deaths in the city during 2021, all in the first five months of the year.
The inspectors and community engagement teams would hand out Worker Alert safety information at construction sites. The alert warned workers of the dangers of falls in the construction industry and how to prevent injuries and deaths from construction falls.
DOB inspectors conducted site visits at thousands of construction worksites throughout New York City during the enforcement sweeps. Contractors could face up to $25,000 in penalties for each construction safety violation.
Items the inspectors would be looking for include:
- The proper use of fall arrest systems and safety harnesses by workers on site
- Confirm that safety professionals and contractors followed New York City’s construction safety regulations
- Ensure permitted construction projects complied with required site safety plans
The zero-tolerance campaign is another effort by the DOB to increase safety on construction sites throughout New York City. In recent years, the department has increased penalties for serious safety violations, implemented safety training programs, added hundreds of inspectors, and increased the frequency of unannounced safety inspections at work sites.
The Zero Tolerance Safety Sweep Results in Thousands of Violations
The Department of Buildings released the results of the Zero Tolerance safety enforcement sweeps on September 13, 2021. The results were staggering. The three-month-long safety sweeps resulted in over 3,600 violations issued to site safety professionals and contractors for failing to keep worksites safe. Additionally, the DOB issued 1,499 Stop work Orders at construction sites across New York City.
The sweeps were in addition to the hundreds of thousands of regular enforcement and development inspections conducted each year. The results of the construction safety sweeps by borough were:
- 1,645 sites visited
- 978 violations
- 545 Stop Work Orders issued
- 722 sites visited
- 365 violations
- 144 Stop Work Orders issued
- 2,757 sites visited
- 1,252 violations
- 425 Stop Work Orders issued
- 1,929 sites visited
- 934 violations
- 339 Stop Work Orders issued
- 390 sites visited
- 137 violations
- 46 Stop Work Orders issued
The inspectors visited 2,814 new building construction sites and 4,193 alteration construction sites. Additionally, they visited 436 demolition sites. Most violations issued and Stop Work orders issued were at alteration work sites.
Filing Claims Related to New York City Construction Accidents
If you are injured on a construction site, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation if your injury occurred during the ordinary course of employment. However, you could also be entitled to compensation for damages from a third-party claim.
While most workers cannot sue their employers for injuries on the job, there are instances in which injured workers can sue other parties. In specific cases, an injured worker might have a claim against an employer if the employer’s intentional violation of safety regulations leads to an injury or death.
Construction accidents can cause severe injuries and permanent impairments. Therefore, injured construction workers must receive all of the compensation they deserve to help them recover and deal with injuries.
Construction accidents may be caused by:
- Violations of safety regulations
- Defective and unsafe construction equipment
- Ladder and scaffolding accidents
- Falling objects on construction sites
- Improperly maintained tools, machinery, and equipment
- Crane accidents
- Lack of protective equipment
- Building collapse and trench accidents
- Lack of proper supervision, training, and communication
- Fires, electrocutions, and explosions on worksites
New York City has laws that impose liability on parties who control safety on construction sites. Those parties may be held financially liable for damages if they violate those laws. A New York City construction accident lawyer reviews your case for free to determine if you have a third-party claim or personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
Fair Compensation for Construction Accidents
A workers’ compensation claim provides partial wage replacement benefits, payment of medical expenses, and death benefits. However, it does not compensate a worker fully for all damages.
However, filing a personal injury claim can result in additional forms of compensation for injured construction workers. A worker could receive compensation for:
- Current and future medical expenses, personal care, and nursing care
- Costs of in-home care, physical therapy, and medical devices
- All lost wages, including future loss of income and diminished earning potential
- Pain and suffering caused by emotional distress and physical injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life
Parties that could be responsible for your damages include engineers, property owners, architects, contractors, manufacturers of defective products, and subcontractors. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, you must prove negligence and fault. A construction accident attorney gathers evidence to prove the legal elements of a personal injury claim.