Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Construction Accident

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Road work in NYCurrent extreme temperature and humidity are exposing New York construction workers to higher risks of accidents related to heat. Road workers especially those handling asphalt as well as house builders working in attics can get easily dehydrated and suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

It is important during hot days, like those we have this week in New York, that employers remind their workers to drink a lot of water and make sure they are well hydrated while they are working. Employers should also ensure that their supervisors are proprely trained to recognize signs of heat exhaustion. When a supervisor sees that a worker starts to be lightheaded, that his color seems a little off or that he starts to sweat more than usual, he should pull him aside and make sure he takes a break in a shady area.

WATER, REST, SHADE

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Berylium62,000 workers including 11,500 construction and shipyard workers are exposed to beryllium in their workplace according to OSHA estimates. Beryllium is a metal used in many applications and industry including medical specialties, aerospace, defense, telecommunications and automotive electronics. Workers who are exposed to dust or fumes of beryllium and beryllium compounds without adequate protection can develop an immune response known as Beryllium Sensitization and progressively develop chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and/or lung cancer. Workers with CBD suffer from lung lesions and lung fibrosis that can prevent the lung to expand fully and oxygenate the blood. While CBD symptoms can be treated, there is no cure for the disease itself.

To protect workers from CBD and lung cancer, OSHA  started Yesterday the enforcement of some of the requirements of its New Rule on Beryllium. The new standards were issued last January by OSHA  and were initially scheduled to be enforced 60 days ago.

The requirements that will be enforced starting Yesterday  are

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Construction_workers_not_wearing_fall_protection_equipmentContractors who failed to protect construction workers from fall accidents and contractors who didn’t follow excavation and trenching safety rules were the ones hit with the biggest OSHA violations. Before Trump was elected, OSHA used to publish a high volume of press releases “shaming contractors” for violating safety rules. The number of press releases decreased but the penalties are among some of the highest OSHA has ever proposed. However many of them are negotiated down. Here are the top 10 recent largest fines:

  1. $1,523,710 for Great White Construction in Jacksonville, Florida related to fall protection and eye hazard violations. This commercial and residential roofer was cited 22 times for the same violations before being fined.  OSHA also listed the contractor in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  2. $1,475,813 for Atlantic Drain Service Co. in Boston, Massachusetts.  This fine is related to an accident during which two construction workers died after a trench collapsed on them. Atlantic was cited for 18 safety violations and a new regulation was created that requires contractors to disclose their safety history when applying for a building permit in Boston. The owner of Atlantic was charged with manslaughter.
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New York Construction Site with protection against fallFalls are the main cause of deaths in the construction industry. Each year more than 200 hard hats die and more than 10,000 are seriously injured in fall accidents. The National Safety Stand Down Week aims at reducing falls from scaffolds, ladders and roofs by encouraging contractors and anyone working in the construction industry to take 3 simple but efficient measures that can prevent these fall accidents.

Many accidents can be prevented

  • by planning ahead how to execute the task safely
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Prevent falls in Construction Campaig
Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. In 2016, a total of 991 hard hats died in construction accidents. Almost 40% of them, 370,  lost their life after they fell from a height. Most of these accidents may have been prevented.

To increase awareness and to prevent more injuries and deaths related to falls, OSHA and several other partners advocating for safe construction practices are asking employers all over the country to organize Safety Stand-Down events and discuss safety with their employees.  Employers are invited to focus on Fall Hazard and Fall Prevention. Safety stand-down can be conducted in various ways. Toolbox talk during a break or inspections of safety equipment, development of rescue plans or discussion related to specific job hazards are examples of activities that can be organized during a safety stand-down. The OSHA website proposes various suggestions and ideas to employers on how to organize a successful Stand-Down. OSHA also has an event page for Stand-Down events by regions that are free and open to the public. OSHA also encourages all employers to share their Stand-Down experience. Employers who are participating in the campaign will also receive a Certificate of Participation.

CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT PREVENTION EVENTS ORGANIZED BY THE NYC DOB

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road construction workers143 workers lost their lives on road construction sites in 2016 in America compared to respectively 130, 119 and 105 in 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the third consecutive year that the number of worker deaths has been increasing.  Over the last 10 years the number of road construction workers dying in crashes has been oscillating between 100 and 130. The average for the last 3 years is 130.7 It is the first year that this number is above 140.

Increased vehicular traffic, distracted driving and increase of road construction projects are among the main causes of this increase in fatalities. In a recent press release the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) urges drivers to be more careful and keep their eyes on the road when they drive near or through road construction zones.

Because of the nature of their activity, road workers and especially highway workers are highly exposed to fatal accidents.  Last year they represented almost 20% of the 765 fatalities that occurred on road construction sites. Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles represented around 80% of the fatalities.

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Trinity Grace ChurchA NYC hard had suffered critical injury after he fell from scaffolding at a church construction site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The man who was employed by 4M Construction was doing brick work on the Trinity Grace Church located at 231 Ainslie Street in Williamsburg. He was on scaffolding when he fell two stories onto the sidewalk shed. The accident occurred Monday afternoon around 2pm.  The emergency responders rescued the man and rushed him to the hospital. A neighbor told the NY Daily News that he previously called 311 because he was worried about the unsafe conditions at the construction site.

Read more in the NY Daily News

Picture of the accident location: courtesy of Google Map

 

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New York Construction Site SafetyUnfortunately too many construction workers are injured on the job in New York City. In order to reduce these accidents and make construction the safest possible in the city, the Department of Buildings is organizing an annual conference on Construction Safety. The 2018 Build Safe│Live Safe Conference will take place Thursday May 10th at 117 West 46th Street in Manhattan. During this one day conference, the DOB invites experts to present the most recent trends in construction and discuss safe construction operations.

NEW YORK CONSTRUCTION SAFETY WEEK

This conference is one of the many activities that will take place in New York City during Construction Safety Week (May 7-11). During this week, staff from the DOB will visit NYC construction sites to promote workers and public safety. They will promote a multilingual campaign entitled Experience is Not Enough. This campaign is stressing the importance for every construction worker independently of his experience to use safety equipment especially fall protection such as harnesses, guardrails and netting.  The DOB staff plans to distribute flyers in various languages such as Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

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New York Personal Injury lawyer Anthony GairNew York Personal Injury Attorney Christopher DonadioOur NY Construction Accident law firm is proud to announce that our attorneys Anthony H. Gair and Christopher J. Donadio obtained a $1 million settlement in a construction accident that occurred in New York. The case involved an incident that occurred on a construction site in Manhattan. The plaintiff, who was a worker on the job site, suffered a crush injury to his thumb when a small crane (known as a “gin pole”) failed, and caused a several hundred pound motor to fall on to the plaintiff’s hand.

Due to the incident, the plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital. At the hospital, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a crushed thumb on his non-dominant hand. As a result of the injury, the plaintiff required three surgical procedures to his thumb, including a revascularization procedure and a skin graft.

An action was brought in New York County, Supreme Court, against the general contractor of the construction project, and the owner of the construction site. The action was brought under New York Labor Law §240(1). The Labor Law of New York §240(1) provides that:

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Construction_AccidentAmong the 350,000 construction sites who were required by OSHA to electronically file their annual injury and illnesses log summary by December 31st only 153,653 complied.  61,000 construction sites that were not required to provide electronic records did it anyway. Almost 200,000 work sites  didn’t comply with OSHA’s new electronic record keeping rule. It is not exactly clear why so many companies didn’t comply with the new rule. Some companies may have believed they were exempted, some thought that the deadline would be extended one more time. Other employers didn’t want their data to be published online as the new rule requires it.

Technically OSHA now has  until June 15 to visit the 200,000 locations that violated the rule. Companies who didn’t file may risk up to $12,934  in penalties. Companies who can demonstrate they had difficulty filing electronically as well as companies who can provide a paper copy of their report may be exempted from a fine.

According to Construction Dive, some experts believe that OSHA wasn’t aggressive enough in its compliance effort.