Construction in the Big Apple is endlessly apparent as tower cranes are visible amongst skyscrapers and pedestrians dart under scaffolding. The ongoing building boom since 2012 has lead to more construction jobs. The growth and development means more jobs for construction workers but unfortunately construction injuries and deaths have risen as well.
The dangers of construction
In a disturbing trend, the overall number of construction site safety inspections has decreased while the number of construction injuries and fatalities rises. The most common construction injuries and deaths are fall related. Not coincidentally, construction falls have made the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) top ten violations list for more than a decade. Falls have been number one violation for the past six years.
Falls account for 59 percent of construction related deaths in New York City. That percentage is significantly higher than the national average of 36 percent. In fact, construction injuries are outpacing even the growth in construction, with a 62 percent increase in injured construction workers since the 2012 construction boom.
Falls are preventable
A sad fact is that most falls are preventable. To reinforce that fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a campaign to prevent falls in construction. Although the campaign was launched in April 2012, it has been revamped for the 2018 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction in May. Employers throughout the industry are encouraged to hold Stand-Downs on all of their job sites to talk about fall prevention.
The campaign has three main messages to spread. Contractors and workers can plan work together in order to plan out the safest way to handle job hazards. Contractors must provide the right equipment for working at heights. Lastly, both workers and contractors need to be trained on how to use the equipment.
Regrettably, many contractors are not concerned with employee safety. They do not feel the need to provide their workers with safer equipment. Workers are viewed as easily replaceable and any workers that refuse to work in unsafe conditions are let go.
Job safety should not be a negotiable topic. If you were injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation and your employer could be held liable for their negligence.