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Construction Injuries Rise in NYC Despite Drop in Fatalities

A construction worker on a high-rise building in New York City, wearing safety gear and a reflective vest, with the city skyline in the background and sunlight casting dynamic shadows.

In 2023, New York City's construction industry experienced mixed safety outcomes. The Department of Buildings (DOB) released its annual Construction Safety Report, which revealed a decrease in worker fatalities but a significant increase in work-related injuries compared to the previous year.

The report raises important questions about the effectiveness of current safety measures and the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the construction sector. As the city grapples with these challenges, it's important to examine the factors contributing to these incidents and explore initiatives to help create a safer working environment for construction workers.

How many construction accidents occurred in NYC in 2023?

According to the DOB's report, 841 building construction-related accidents took place across New York City's five boroughs in 2023. These incidents led to a staggering 692 injuries and claimed the lives of seven workers. While the total number of construction accidents represents an 11.8% increase from the previous year, it's still 30.6% lower than the peak of 1,212 recorded in 2017.

The seven worker deaths recorded in 2023 mark the lowest figure in nine years, showing a notable improvement from the 11 deaths reported in the previous year. However, this positive development is overshadowed by the substantial 25% increase in work-related injuries, which rose from 554 in 2022 to 692 in 2023.

This injury total is the highest since 2018 when 759 injuries were registered. Alarmingly, the number of injuries has been on an upward trajectory since the COVID-19-related construction shutdowns in 2020, with a 38% increase.

What is the leading cause of construction accidents?

Worker falls were the primary cause of most injuries and deaths in the construction industry last year. The second most common causes of construction injuries and fatalities were accidents involving mechanical equipment and falling materials.

Additionally, the DOB expressed particular concern over the combined 17% increase in ladder falls, stair falls, and tripping incidents.

Who is responsible for maintaining construction safety standards?

Ensuring construction safety is a shared responsibility among multiple stakeholders. The Department of Buildings (DOB), with its workforce of 1,600 employees, plays an important role in enforcing regulations and overseeing construction practices.

However, as Commissioner James Oddo pointed out, contractors, site safety professionals, and construction workers all have a duty to adhere to both city and federal OSHA regulations.

Looking ahead, the DOB has established several key initiatives to promote construction safety in New York City. The department plans to continue its winter construction safety campaign, which focuses on raising awareness about the hazards of working in cold weather and educating workers on best practices to mitigate these risks.

Additionally, the DOB will implement year-round education initiatives to keep safety at the forefront of the industry, regardless of the season. The DOB also recognizes the alarming trend of fatal overdoses among construction workers and plans to address this issue through targeted interventions and support programs.

Secure the compensation you deserve with a trusted New York construction accident lawyer

If you’ve been injured on a construction site in New York City, the lawyer you choose will make all the difference in your case. Construction work is inherently dangerous, and while the law prioritizes safety, many construction companies and contractors fail to uphold their duty of care on the job. You don’t have to accept their excuses. Stand up for your rights with a skilled New York construction accident lawyer from Keogh Crispi, P.C., on your side.

We have a strong track record of securing significant compensation for injured workers, including $6 million for a crane collapse, $5 million for an injured security guard, and $4.5 million for a carpenter. Let us help you build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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