Recently, a construction worker fell to his death 30 feet down an elevator shaft at 577 Ninth Avenue, where a hotel is currently being built. The family of another worker who died after falling 24 stories down an elevator shaft in May just announced that it will sue companies involved at that construction site. Across the country, construction site injuries and deaths are rising, but the problem is especially bad here in New York.
The New York City Department of Buildings reports major increases in accidents and deaths at construction sites this year. Construction-related fatalities in Manhattan nearly doubled between June 2014 and June 2015, from six to 11. There were four each year 2010 and 2011, seven in 2012 and five in 2013. In addition, injuries increased by 34% over the past year. A reported 283 injuries happened at New York construction sites, compared with 206 in 2010; 128 in 2011; and 187 in both 2012 and 2013.
New York City’s recent building boom has seen a large boost in construction working hours. “I think building companies are trying to cut corners,” City Councilman Jumaane Williams said. “It seems to me that we don’t have the tools necessary to hold these companies’ feet to the fire. We have to get the tools so that we can demand that safety come first — not money,” Councilman Williams added. He believes the city should not grant permits to companies that receive repeated safety violations.
The on-the-job death rate for construction workers is three times the national average of all American jobs. Finally, the city is stepping in to do something. The Department of Buildings is hiring about 100 more enforcement inspectors and is reviewing ways to enhance discipline for builders who receive repeat safety violations. The Department also released a new “Industry Code of Conduct” this summer and that includes more safety measures.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York City construction accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney at your side. Don’t hesitate to contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. We can be reached at (212) 986-7353.