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.
Rising Construction Accidents: Causes
While there isn’t an official single cause for the increase in construction-related injuries and deaths, years of experience representing victims and statistics regarding safety violations indicate several likely causes for the rising toll on workers:
- Budgets: With such an active and booming industry, each contractor is under the gun to under-bid and out-perform competitors. A standard method of reducing budget costs is trimming the workforce and circumventing safety protocols, putting everyone at risk.
- Rushing: When a subcontractor or general contractor is being pressured to complete a job and meet deadlines, there’s no question that they may take risks. Further, cut-rate work performed in the effort to save time can itself pose hazards for other trades.
- Lack of adequate training: Each construction worker in New York is required to undergo a mandatory 30-hour safety training program and carry their certificate card with them. These requirements will increase on September 1, 2020, to 40-hours. Unfortunately, contractors routinely hire unqualified workers to keep costs lower – and those workers can put others on the job site at risk.
The New York Department of Building’s Response
The New York Department of Buildings is responding to this increase with a crackdown on safety violations through extensive inspections and enforcements. Any time a worker is identified who has not participated in the mandatory 30-hour training (or 40 hours, after September 1, 2020), a $5,000 fine is issued to the worker, the construction company, and the property owner. Further, inspectors have been put onto extended shifts and have been inspecting sites all around the city to help mitigate this problem.
How to Protect Yourself
If you or a loved one are working on job sites in New York City, you must be aware of the situation and work to protect yourself against the negligent acts of others. This means:
- Strictly complying to all safety regulations
- Enforcing that those around you to comply with safety regulations, and reporting them if they aren’t
- Keeping a close eye on any cases of “cutting corners” where those corners have anything to do with safety
If You’ve Been Injured on the Job
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury, or a loved one has died in a construction accident, you deserve fair compensation to help put your life back together. While no amount of money can replace a loved one or balance the challenges of a disability, it eases the financial challenges ahead. Our construction accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, have been protecting the rights of victims in these accidents for over 50 years, and we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. If you need help, we’re here for you – call us today at (212) 986-7353 for a free initial consultation.