New York is in the middle of another building boom. New construction is happening anywhere you go in NYC, including Greenwich Village. It seems like they can’t build them fast enough, and yet buildings are built a lot faster than before.
The Big Apple has some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, and an insatiable need for construction workers. Construction companies are frequently under pressure to complete a project by a deadline.
But this rapid increase in building comes at a cost. The New York Post reported last year that accidents are increasing during the current construction boom, despite the increases in safety requirements implemented by the City Council. Construction is still the most dangerous occupation for anyone in Greenwich Village and in New York City.
Falls—The #1 Cause Of Death for Construction Workers
Despite safety equipment, training and requirements, the top cause of death for construction workers is falling, in 58% of the fatalities.
Whether from ladders or scaffolding, through flooring, from roofs, or off the building they’re working on, it’s the main reason construction workers are injured or killed.
New York’s Building Department keeps track of construction worker deaths, with the latest data available from 2017. While falls are the top cause of death, other accidental and unintentional injuries contribute to the overall fatality rate:
- Crushes, being struck by objects (including falling items) or caught in between objects or equipment (the second cause of death, at 32%)
- Poisoning, acute
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Fires or burns
- Saw injuries
Intentional injuries in the reported period included six homicides and nine suicides.
Construction Company Negligence
In the rush to get projects completed and move onto the next project, companies will cut corners, including skimping on safety training and equipment.
In its report, the NYC Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics also found that in 90% of the fatal construction accidents investigated, there was at least one serious OSHA violation, including:
- Ladder safety
- Scaffold safety
- Stairway safety
- Fall protection
- Training requirements
The Bureau also found other violations such as intentionally disabling safety features on equipment, using unsafe or damaged equipment, and willfully violating safety standards just to increase their profits. Companies that do so put their workers at serious risk for falls and other dangers that are completely unnecessary.
Increased Safety Measures
In response to the increase in deaths and injuries among construction workers, the City Council has made new requirements of companies to protect workers and reduce deaths and injuries on job sites. One of the most significant is the addition of 40 hours of safety training for workers by September of 2020, up from the current 10 hours.
Unfortunately, construction is also experiencing a labor shortage, where there aren’t enough qualified workers to complete the projects. Many companies are hiring untrained, inexperienced and/or undocumented workers who, frequently, don’t speak English, or enough of it. The companies hand counterfeit safety cards to these new workers, indicating that they’ve taken the required safety training, but haven’t.
These same workers are usually nonunion, and work for less than the prevailing wage, and are reluctant to report unsafe conditions to OSHA (1-800-321-6742) or anonymously at New York’s 311 helpline. Workers who are new or inexperienced can put themselves as well as others at risk for dangerous conditions on a construction site.
Greenwich Village Lawyers For Construction Workers
Construction work is a dangerous vocation, but one that Greenwich Village—and the whole of New York City—can’t do without. If you’ve been injured at work on a construction site, or have lost a loved one on the job, our Greenwich Village injury lawyers are here to help.
Our office is located in Manhattan, but we represent individuals throughout the New York City area, including Greenwich Village. Call us today at (212) 777-9400 or contact us online for a free consultation.