Personal Injury Lawyers New York, NY

Construction Accidents: Cement and Concrete Hazards on New York Construction Sites

Construction worker pouring concrete from mixer truck on the job site.

Working with cement and concrete comes with risks.

Construction accidents in New York City occur for many different reasons. After all, hundreds of construction workers are injured or involved in a fatal construction accident each year in New York City, according to the NYC Department of Buildings.

In 2022, for example, 554 construction workers were injured and 11 died in New York City construction accidents, according to the city building department’s 2022 construction safety report.

What many people might not realize is some of these injuries involve construction workers using cement or concrete at construction sites. The legal team at Keogh Crispi, P.C. in Manhattan digs deeper into this important subject and explains. Here's what you need to know.

What is the difference between cement and concrete?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between concrete and cement. When many people think of concrete, they probably picture concrete blocks, which are often used as building materials.

As for cement, it is one of the ingredients often used to make concrete. Specifically, cement contains lime, iron oxide, silica, and other minerals. Cement is then often mixed with water, sand, and other materials to create concrete.

“Portland cement” is one of the most popular and most common types of cement. Other common cements include:

  • Blast Furnace Slag Cement.
  • High Alumina Cement.
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC).
  • Rapid Hardening Cement.
  • Sulphate Resisting Portland Cement.

What makes working with concrete or cement hazardous for construction workers?

Cement and concrete might seem harmless. However, these potentially-hazardous materials need to be handled carefully by construction workers. Some of the reasons why cement or concrete can be hazardous and cause construction-related injuries or illnesses include:

  • Hazardous chemicals – Cement and concrete contain many hazardous chemicals, including silica, lime, and hexavalent chromium. These chemicals can be especially dangerous if construction workers breathe them in or their skin or eyes come in contact with them.
  • Heavy weight – Both of these building materials can be extremely heavy. This is why construction workers need to be careful when lifting cement or concrete or when loading or unloading them at construction sites.
  • Improper mixture – Cement needs to be properly mixed, especially when it’s being used as part of a building’s foundation. If cement does not have the right amount of sand, gravel, and water, it can weaken the structure, leading to potential collapses or other structural failures. Improperly mixed cement is a common cause of construction accidents and can result in serious injuries to workers.
  • Building collapse – Because concrete and cement are often used to create a building’s foundation, construction companies must make sure that a building’s foundation is solid and secure. Otherwise, a building collapse can occur due to poor-quality cement, defective cement or construction errors.

What are common construction injuries or illnesses caused by cement or concrete?

Construction injuries or illnesses involving concrete or cement cover a wide range, including:

  • Respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer, due to breathing in dust, silica, and other hazardous particles.
  • Vision problems or total blindness caused by hazardous particles getting into the eyes.
  • Chemical burns caused by hazardous chemicals in cement or concrete coming into contact with the skin.
  • Back injuries caused by lifting heavy bags of cement or concrete.
  • Spinal cord injuries caused by heavy lifting or being crushed by falling concrete or cement.
  • Bone fractures and broken bones.
  • Head injuries caused by slip, trip and fall accidents involving cement or concrete.

What can construction companies do to protect workers from concrete or cement injuries?

Construction companies must take preventative steps to protect construction workers from being harmed while working with cement or concrete. Many of these steps are mandated by law and covered by a wide range of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Such preventative measures include:

  • Provide construction workers with protective equipment, including respirators, gloves, and protective eyewear if they work with cement or concrete.
  • Properly train construction workers on how to handle cement and concrete safely safely.
  • Regularly inspect construction sites to make sure they’re safe and free of any hazardous situations involving concrete or cement. This is especially important if construction workers are pouring concrete to create a building’s foundation. The slightest mistake could result in a fatal building collapse.
  • Before loading or unloading concrete or cement at a construction site, ensure the loading site is safe, secure, and can safely support such a heavy load.
  • Place warning signs near wet cement or any other potentially hazardous situations.

Seeking legal help after a construction accident in NYC

Construction accidents involving concrete or cement in New York City often quickly turn into complicated legal cases. This is because there’s often more than one at-fault party, whether it’s the construction company, the cement manufacturer, or an additional company hired to mix or create concrete for a construction site.

With so many businesses, insurance companies, and lawyers involved, it’s important that you fully understand your legal rights if you were injured on the job site. That’s why New York City construction accident attorney Pat James Crispi of Keogh Crispi, P.C. is here to help.

Our law firm has years of experience handling complex cases involving construction accidents in New York City. As a result, we understand how the legal system works in such cases and can help you navigate the aftermath of a construction accident.

Get an experienced lawyer who can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with a New York City construction accident lawyer focused on your personal needs. Our office is conveniently located in Manhattan, and we represent injured construction workers throughout New York City.

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