Trench collapses are among the greatest dangers that construction workers face. If not properly secured or reviewed after rainfall, a cave-in can occur, leading to serious or fatal injuries to workers in it and even those standing around it. This is also a major issue as New York construction ramps up again. If a property owner or supervisor failed to ensure a trench is safe to work in or failed to close down their job site safely, then workers could be put in serious danger of suffering traumatic injuries.
The construction industry is extremely dangerous for New York workers, especially those that handle our city’s infrastructure. Not only do road crews work with powerful and often dangerous equipment, but they must also contend with great heights, complicated projects, and negligent drivers. While everyone knows they should slow down in a construction zone and strictly follow all traffic laws, in addition to road crew directions, many drivers still choose to recklessly endanger road crews.
The construction industry here in New York City is booming – it’s practically impossible to look around without seeing the evidence of one or more construction projects every few blocks. During industrial booms like this, it’s vital to stay aware of the dangers you or your loved ones may face as laborers and professionals on construction sites. One of the most hazardous and insidious dangers may not be the most obvious but can be one of the most dangerous: toxic exposure.
New York City is one of the largest and most populous cities in the world, and the construction and renovation industry is booming with over 45,000 active job sites. According to a story from CBS Local, construction has now officially become the most dangerous industry in NYC, with construction fatalities up 33% from five years ago, and construction injuries up 225% over the same period. In most other parts of the US, construction is rated as only the third most dangerous job – indicating that New York City has become more hazardous for construction workers.
Construction accidents are not rare in NYC – in fact, the situation appears to be getting worse. A recent case illustrates the risks faced by construction workers throughout the city. The recent death occurred on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where a mixed-use development was being built at 60 Norfolk Street. Two workers were standing on an old windowsill as a machine was working below, about six to eight feet above ground. Suddenly, the entire wall collapsed, carrying two workers with it, partially burying them in the rubble.
Scaffolding accidents continue to be a plague on New York City construction workers, no matter how many laws and regulations are put in place. Case in point, recently four workers were injured when a scaffolding collapse occurred at a Hudson Yards construction site, as reported by the New York Post. Three of the workers suffered minor injuries, while the fourth worker was severely injured.
The City of New York is suing to revoke the license of contractor Wlodzimierz Tomczak after a construction worker was killed at Manhattan work site. Nelson Salinas, age 51, was washing windows at 311 E. 50th Street when he was hit in the head and killed by a falling brick. The brick was knocked loose by the apparatus used to secure Salinas’ scaffolding to the building facade. The City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) filed in September 2019 to have Tomczak’s special rigger license revoked, claiming that he did not take proper precautions at the restoration project where Salinas died.
Job sites can be a dangerous place for workers, especially if safety rules put in place to protect employees’ well-being are not adhered to. However, some accidents are more common than others, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has dubbed the four accidents most common for worksite deaths the “fatal four.”
When it comes to construction, you’ll hardly find a better city to work in than New York City. Whether they’re making a single-family home or a commercial building, the construction industry in NYC has boomed in recent years. With the increase in business, especially a business that can be extremely dangerous, there’s no question why the New York State government has introduced several different measures to protect workers and victims while making it easier to hold business owners accountable.
As residents of New York City can attest, construction sites can be found everywhere. In fact, there are an estimated 45,000 active construction sites at any one time in The Big Apple. While this is good for the economy and provides employment for many people, it also creates many hazardous situations.