What does New York’s recent construction boom mean for workers?

An increase in construction in New York City has reportedly led to more injuries and fatalities among construction workers.

The construction industry, long known as one of America's most dangerous jobs, may be getting more dangerous for workers in New York City. According to the New York Times, over the past two years, injuries and fatalities among construction workers in the city has risen dramatically. In the past fiscal year, 10 construction workers were killed on jobsites and 324 were injured on the job. This injury rate represented an increase of 53 percent, while the average number of construction workers killed during the previous four years was 5.5.

How safety violations contribute

A large portion of construction site accidents occur as a result of safety violations, reports Electrical Construction & Maintenance. Safety standards, such as mandatory training, safety equipment and proper supervision, are put in place to prevent such accidents. Unfortunately, officials from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration say that it is rare to inspect a construction site and find no safety violations. Three violations in particular result in a large number of construction workers being killed in accidents on the job. These include the following:

• Scaffolding - The walking platform on scaffolds should be fully planked, and they should be constructed on a stable surface, but these standards are frequently overlooked.

• Grounding - Workers can be electrocuted when cables or equipment are not de-energized or grounded.

• Excavations - Trenches and pits should be braced to prevent cave-ins, which can suffocate or crush workers. These procedures are often ignored.

In New York City, the majority of construction workers killed at work were victims of falls. A review of accidents over the past couple of years concluded that many would have been avoidable had the proper precautions or training been done. Reportedly, most of those killed in construction site accidents lacked harnesses or other safety equipment or did not have proper supervision to prevent mishaps. In many cases, the construction companies were accused of taking shortcuts to get a job done faster.

Construction accidents are prevalent among immigrants

Many victims of serious construction accidents in New York are undocumented immigrants. In addition to safety violations, some construction companies have been accused of not training immigrant workers properly, over-working them or falsely reporting that they completed mandatory safety courses before having them perform dangerous work. Many are afraid of reporting unsafe work conditions, or do not understand their rights on the job.

If you or a family member was involved in a construction accident, you have the right to pursue compensation. You may need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.