Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that injuries and fatal accidents are on the rise among New York City’s construction workers.
Construction is the deadliest job in the city, and there were three construction fatalities last month alone. Deaths and injuries at New York’s construction sites are a rising trend. Worksite deaths have increased by a third in the past five years, and injuries rose a whopping 221 percent in the same time period.
More construction, more issues
There are currently about 45,000 construction projects going on in the city right now, and about a quarter of them do not meet safety compliance standards, Department of Buildings deputy commissioner of enforcement Tim Hogan said in an interview.
“I think any major city and especially that has older infrastructure … it’s necessary to replace a lot of those buildings and continue construction,” Hogan said in the interview. “We’re putting pressure on contractors that they need to comply with safety regulations.”
Current safety regulations
Currently, construction workers must attend 10 hours of safety training approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to get a card that allows them on the jobsite, but contractors frequently hire workers without the proper training. The cost of a card ranges from $150 to $300, but there is a large market for counterfeit OSHA safety-training cards.
A law passed by the New York City Council will increase the training for construction workers from 10 hours to 40 hours, but that law does not go into effect until September 2020.
If you or a loved one works constructions, the following tips may help you avoid injuries or worse:
- Training: Make sure you receive all the necessary training before entering a jobsite. Receive the mandated city training and become trained on any specialty equipment you might use.
- Watch your step: Construction sites are full of hazards, so watch your step when getting in and out of equipment and when you’re climbing on scaffolding, ladders or other high surfaces.
- Avoid broken equipment: If you’re in a hurry, it might be tempting to use the closest gear you can find, but all sorts of safety risks come from using a tool that’s not in proper working order.
- Stay alert: Jobsites are filled with dangers, so always be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for potential fall hazards, and use guardrails, nets, harnesses and other safety equipment where necessary.
- Report issues: If you see a safety issue, say something to a supervisor. This not only keeps you safe, but your colleagues as well. If the supervisor doesn’t take care of an issue, consider going to local oversight authorities. Your life might be at stake
If you or a loved one becomes injured on a construction site, be sure to protect your rights. It may be a good idea to speak to an experience attorney who can help you through the workers’ compensation process and seek any other damages you might be owed.