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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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construction NYCBuilding in New York can be challenging and safety is not only about keeping construction workers safe but also about keeping New Yorkers safe, including the neighbourghs and the pedestrians to the future tenants. Every year the NYC Department of Buildings organizes a week long seminar during which construction professionals and experts present the last trend in regards to safe building and safe living.

The 2020 “Build Safe/Live Safe” is kicking off tomorrow  in a digital only format due to Covid-19 restrictions in regards to gathering of big groups in indoor spaces.

The Department of Buildings prepared a one week program during which participants can attend webinars presented by experts on topics ranging from industry trends and safe construction operations to legal developments in sustainability, and more.

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safety stand down constructionFalls in construction are the main cause of construction worker deaths and injuries. In the US, every year  around 200 workers die and 10,000 suffer personal injury after they fell on a construction site.

To prevent and reduce fall accidents, every year since 2012, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are joining forces annually for a one week national campaign asking construction workers and their supervisors all over the nation to conduct a stand down focusing on fall prevention.

During a stand down, workers pause work and  participate in discussions or activities related to fall prevention and safety policies

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construction workersTo prevent and reduce construction accidents injuries and deaths in New York City, Local Law 196 requires that most construction workers receive 40 hours of safety training and that their supervisor receive 62 hours of training.  Local Law 196 was passed in 2017 after construction accidents fatalities recorded by the DOB went from 3 in 2013 to 8 in 2014, 12 in 2015, 12 in 2016 and 12 again in 2017. The original deadline for workers to receive their 40 hours of training was September 1 2020 but because much of the “in-person training” was cancelled or postponed because of the covid-19 crisis, the Department of Buildings extended the deadline to March 1 2021. The classes can be taken in person or online.  Online classes are available in multiple languages.

Most construction workers and their supervisors must comply with Local law 196 to be able to work at their construction site

The only construction workers who are exempted from getting safety training are DCA-licensed Home Improvement Contractors and workers at job sites that only involve minor alterations as well as workers building a new 1, 2 or 3-family home. Workers who are not sure if their sites require safety training can consult the interactive site safety construction map.  Personal on these specific sites that do not require safety training are the site owners, the projects managers, the professional engineers, the architects, the developers, the delivery people, the construction managers, the flag persons, the general contractors, the people taking care of the concrete testing, the filing representatives, the security officers, the special inspectors, the service technicians and the consultants. All other construction workers at the sites including demolition workers, construction superintendents, site safety coordinators, site safety managers, forepersons, journey men, employees of DOB licensees or registrants must comply with Local Law 196.  Those who need to take classes can use the DOB”s map of approved course providers or go to the OSHA website to locate a course provider or take an online class.

 

 

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construction worker is a police officerHighway construction workers have one of of the highest rate of fatality among all categories of construction workers. Too often, they die in accidents caused by reckless drivers. In New York State,  from May to November, the New York State Police and the New York State Department of Transportation  are joining forces to crack down on reckless drivers in highway construction zone areas. Through “Operation Hard Hat”, any highway construction workers could actually be a State trooper checking on your driving behavior near construction zones and communicating with other state troopers down the road to stop and ticket drivers who do not respect construction workers safety.

State troopers are sometimes taking the role of a flagman or could be seated in a truck checking your speed  or checking if you are using a cellphone

This year so far, according to a recent announcement by governor Cuomo, 37 operations have been conducted on New York State highways resulting in 432 speeding tickets, 112 seat-belts tickets, 192 cell phone tickets, 68 move over tickets, 2 failure to obey flagger tickets, 10 failure to obey traffic control device tickets, 1 DWI violation, 2 unsafe lane change tickets and 403 tickets for other violations. A total of  1,222 tickets were issued so far. Last year, the same campaign from May to November resulted in a total of 1,048 tickets.

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22 construction workers were injured in New York City during the month of May compared to 6 during the month of April and 51 during the same month a year earlier. As most New Yorkers were still required to stay home during the month of May,  more than 5,000 non essential construction sites were authorized to re-open at the end of April on the condition that they were following the Covid-19 safety protocol for the industry such as disinfecting tools, social distancing and wearing masks. The gradual opening of New York City construction sites lead to a small increased in the number of hard hats injured on the job in NYC. There were no deaths recorded during the month of May. So far since the beginning of 2020 only one worker died on a New York construction site in February. Manhattan had the highest number of injuries, followed by Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

Construction Accident Injuries in New York City in May 2020
Most injuries were minors and classified under “others” and the few others were related to falls. Fall is the most common cause of accident injuries and deaths in the construction industry not only in New York City but also in the US.

NYC construction accident injuries by categories May 2020
12 construction workers were injured on Manhattan construction sites. Some injuries were minors. A worker cut his finger  with a box cutter, another one punctured his foot after walking on a nail.

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excavation work in NYC streetsNew York construction site owners and contractors are responsible for their employees safety. While before the coronavirus crisis this meant that they had to take adequate safety measures to protect construction workers from accident injuries and deaths, now contractors are also responsible for applying the new covid-19 protocole. In New York where aggressive measures have been deployed by the Governor to reduce the spread of the disease, construction site owners and contractors have to follow a strict protocol to keep everybody safe.

The NYC Department of Buildings now has dedicated inspectors who are visiting  construction sites to make sure they are compliant

Since July 8th, any NYC construction site that doesn’t respect the Covid-19 protocol can be penalized with violations fines and stop work orders if necessary. During the first five days, inspectors issued 88 citations and 41 stop work orders to construction sites all over the city. During the previous months the inspectors had been reaching out to violators and provided them with guidance and material related to the application of the covid-19 protocol for construction sites in New York City.

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Building that collapsed in ManhattanAnother building partially collapsed in Manhattan yesterday, The building that hosts a mix of residences and commercial spaces is located at 211 East 34th Street. It was completely empty and was undergoing construction work. Around 11:30 am yesterday morning a first part of the wall collapsed followed an hour later by another collapse.

Nobody was injured but the street was closed by the police and the residents of an adjacent  building were evacuated for safety.

The collapsed occurred in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan a few blocks away from another deadly construction accident that occurred a few hours later and during which a piece of parapet detached from the roof and landed on a hanging scaffolding, killing one construction worker and injuring 3 others.

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location-of-the-fatal-scaffolding-accidentA construction worker died and 3 others were injured in a scaffolding accident in Manhattan. The accident occurred yesterday afternoon around 4:20pm at a 12 story condo building located at 136 East 36th Street near Lexington Ave in Murray Hill.

According to witnesses, two hard hats on a suspended scaffold were repairing the facade at the 11th floor level when a piece of the parapet fell into the suspended scaffolding. In a chain reaction, the rig then fell onto the street shed, destroying it.

According to the Daily News a 50 year old worker died in the accident. 2 other workers suffered serious injury and are in critical condition. Another one suffered minor injury.

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Construction job with the highest risk of fall injuriesFall is the number one cause of death for construction workers. Every year in America, 10,000 construction workers suffer serious injuries and 200 die in fall accidents. To raise awareness about this problem, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) are organizing a yearly national campaign: The National Safety Stand-Down. The event lasts several days during which every construction company owner is invited to spend a day or at least a few hours with their employees to review fall safety protection.  Thousands of construction companies are participating every year reaching millions of construction workers.

This year the event was supposed to be organized  in May but many construction businesses were shut down because of the Covid-19 crisis. Therefore the 7th National Safety Stand-Down to prevent Falls has been moved to the 14th to 18th of September 2020.

For this year, the organizers suggest that the event be held virtually or that companies owners make sure that construction workers social distance during the stand-down. Video and webinar might be a good way to keep the stand-down safe for all.

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6 hard hats were injured on construction sites in New York City during the month of April compared to 47 a month earlier and 44 in April 2019. 4 workers were injured on Bronx construction sites and 2 of them on Brooklyn sites. 4 workers suffered minor injuries and 2 others who were injured by a plywood piece  on a windy day, required hospitalization. No fatalities were reported to the DOB during the month of April. The significant decline in construction accident injuries in the city is related to the Covid-19 restrictions that allowed only essential construction sites to be open during the month of April.

Construction Accident Injuries NYC April 2020
In one of the accidents a plumber accidentally screwed his own finger during a plumbing operation. He suffered a cut and was treated at an emergency room. He was then released in stable condition. While the DOB determined that the accident was caused by the worker’s error, inspectors found several safety violations at the construction site located on 1325 Jerome Avenue in the Bronx and issued several citations including: failure to maintain vertical netting, failure to maintain the site clean, failure to provide covers for holes on the floor, failure to protect an elevator shaft opening, failure to install a handrail system on stairways as well as failure to notify the DOB of a change of site safety manager. A partial stop work order was issued.

In an other accident, also in the Bronx, a worker suffered muscle cramps after another worker with whom he was carrying a PVC pipe suddenly put his end down.