The city's 'Zero Tolerance' safety sweeps are cracking down on hazardous conditions
According to the Department of Buildings, the City of New York has issued 322 Full and Partial Stop Work Orders to construction sites in June 2021 alone, in response to a number of construction deaths earlier this year.
This crackdown comes in tandem with a new report from the Department of Buildings indicating that New York construction sites have, overall, gotten safer. Construction injuries dropped in 2019 and again in 2020, while construction deaths held steady in 2019 and dropped in 2020. The Buildings Department credits improved safety training and proactive safety inspections for the reduction in construction accidents.
Still, as several worker deaths this year have shown, the progress we've made protecting construction workers is always fragile. Especially in New York City, where construction workers are frequently many stories above the ground, construction incidents can easily turn deadly. There is always more to be done to protect construction workers, and legal action is a key piece in that puzzle.
The need for accountability for New York City construction accidents
There are some dangers inherent in construction work, but it is incumbent on general contractors, property managers, subcontractors, architects, and equipment manufacturers to minimize those risks and protect workers. The truth is that most construction accidents are preventable. New York workers can be seriously or fatally injured when:
- Safety equipment is not provided, or the equipment provided is not appropriate for the situation. For instance, Labor Law 240 requires contractors, owners, and their agents to provide appropriate equipment to protect against gravity-related accidents, including falls and falling objects.
- Management fails to coordinate communication between workers in different parts of the construction site. This can easily turn deadly in New York where construction sites often span multiple floors and a worker on one floor can unknowingly cause an incident on the floor above or below.
- Lower quality or otherwise inappropriate materials are used in construction, increasing the risk of a collapse.
- Heavy equipment is not properly maintained, operators are not properly trained, or machinery is not powered down and locked out when not in use.
While the City of New York's focus is on preventing construction accidents and holding construction companies to higher standards, our focus is on standing up for the rights of individual construction workers who are harmed in preventable accidents. Under New York law, workers who are injured by a third party (that is, any company other than their direct employer) can seek financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs.
Seeking full compensation for those costs helps injured workers rebuild their lives and move forward after an accident. It also sends a strong message that construction companies in New York are responsible for worker safety. When we pursue accountability through the civil justice system, we're not just fighting for our clients; we're fighting for every worker in New York.
If you've been hurt in a construction accident in New York City, contact us right away. You have legal rights, and it's our honor to fight for them. Schedule your free consultation with Keogh Crispi, P.C. today.