Construction accidents are a relatively common occurrence in New York City. This shouldn’t be surprising in a city with more than a million buildings, many of which are over 100 years old.

Both new construction and renovations are common in the city, and there are thousands of active construction sites every year. When there are that many construction projects going on, accidents will eventually happen.

Interestingly, though, there is evidence that construction accidents may be dropping in the city. Is this true? And if so, why?

Construction Accidents in NYC

According to the second annual Construction Safety Report published by the Department of Buildings (DOB), 712 construction-related accidents were reported in the city in 2021. This number has decreased every year since 2018, when 1,193 construction-related accidents were reported.

A drop of over 40% over three years seems to be a pretty good sign that accidents are decreasing. However, it should be noted that these numbers don’t reflect any years before 2018. It could just be that 2018 represented a peak in accidents and that the numbers are returning to a stable average.

Why NYC Construction Accidents Might Be Decreasing

Another possible explanation for this apparent decrease in construction accidents is the Zero Tolerance Campaign that the city instituted in 2021. A string of construction worker deaths in early 2021 prompted the city to act to protect workers.

This enforcement campaign resulted in thousands of safety sweeps at construction sites throughout the city. Inspectors at the sites had the authority to assign violations that could cost the construction company as much as $25,000 or even an order to stop all work at the site if the situation demanded it.

In addition to increasing enforcement through inspections, the DOB also made changes to the regulations for construction sites in the city. 

These changes include requiring:

  • More construction sites to have a dedicated site safety manager or coordinator
  • Larger construction sites to hire a full-time construction superintendent
  • Construction superintendents to reduce the number of sites they oversee

Due to these new regulations and increased inspections, the number of stop-work orders issued decreased slightly and there were fewer accidents overall. However, during the same period, more safety violations were issued, and workers involved in accidents were more likely to require medical care.

Possibly the increase in fines resulted in a decrease in accidents. But that would only explain the drop in numbers in 2021. It doesn’t explain what caused accident numbers to drop in 2020 and 2019.

Why Do Fewer Construction Accidents Matter?

If you work in construction, it is obvious why this matters. Construction accidents often involve heavy machinery or falling from great heights. This means that construction accidents result in thousands of dollars of medical costs every year.

And if you are a worker, you are legitimately worried about your life. Medical costs don’t have any meaning to you if you are killed on the job by a falling beam. The more safe the site, the better you feel going to work every day.

But even if you don’t work in the industry, you should care. Nearly every accident results in medical fees and lost wages that are paid for by an insurance company. This results in insurance companies raising premiums, and eventually, those increased costs filter down to everyone.

Are Construction Accidents Decreasing in NYC?

The numbers suggest that construction accidents might be dropping, but it is far from a sure thing. If they are decreasing, that is good for everyone, even if it just means lower prices for insurance and housing.

Contact Our Construction Accident Law Firm in New York City

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City construction accident lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007