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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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workers on suspended scaffoldRepairing facades can be dangerous. Many construction workers died or were injured while repairing facades in New York  without counting the multiple close calls where workers find themselves dangling out of suspended scaffolds  like the worker in the below video who was lucky he could get back on. Sometimes workers are left dangling in the air until FDNY comes to the rescue.

The NYC DOT recorded 4 deaths and 61 injuries related to accidents during facade work since 2015 and recently released a worker alert to raise awareness about the danger of using a suspended scaffold to repair facades.

Here are a few steps that workers should follow to reduce the risk of accident when doing facade repair

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502 construction workers were injured on NYC construction sites last year conpared to 596 in 2019 and 761 in 2018. The number of construction accident injuries in New York is at its lowest since 2015.  The COVID  lockdown and the global slowdown in the construction industry contributed to this decline.

More than half of the injuries occured on construction sites located in Manhattan (289) while Brooklyn sites had the second highest number of injured workers (107). Queens came third with 43 workers injured last year followed by the Bronx with 43 injuries. Only 2 workers were injured on Staten Island construction sites last year.

Except for Staten Island where injuries dropped from 25 in 2018 to almost none over the past two years, all boroughs saw a gradual decline of construction accident injuries. In Staten Island, 2 worker injuries were reported to the DOT in 2020 and 3 in 2019 compared to 25 in 2018. These numbers seem unusually low.

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Work-Zone-Stand-Down-Announcement-FlyerThe number one cause of injuries among construction workers are “struck-by” accidents. Struck by a flying, falling, swinging or rolling objects are the 4 most common “struck-by” accidents causing injuries to construction workers. To raise awareness and reduce these types of accidents, the NORA Construction Sector Council along with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is organizing, on April 20, a National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Injuries”.

Participants to the stand down will pause work on April 20 and set aside time time for stand down activities such as virtual or small group Toolbox Talks, look at work zone safety training and review the traffic control plan of the construction site. Sending emails or texting safety reminders as well as putting posters up and holding quiz contests will also help raising awareness.

Organizers can look for ideas and get material to download on the CPWR website such as promotional flyers, various tool box talks in English and in Spanish related to how to operate a vehicle safely in a work zone, how to work safely around vehicles on a construction site, how to make sure cranes are stable and don’t tip and how to prevent objects from falling. Organizers can also download infographics cautioning workers to stay alert, vehicle operators to observe safety rules and contractors to make sure they have a solid internal traffic control plan.

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construction site NYTo reduce injuries and deaths on NYC construction sites, Mayor de Blasio signed Local Law 196 in 2017. This law requires that workers can only be allowed to work on a  construction site in the city if they  attended a minimum amount of hours of safety training.

Construction superintendents, Site safety managers and site safety coordinators are all required to have  62 hours of safety training that includes the regular OSHA 30-hour safety class and additionally 8-hour fall prevention training, 8-hour on chapter 33 that covers safeguard during construction and demolition work, 4-hour scaffold safety, 2-hour site safety, 2-hour tool box talks, 2-hour safety meetings organization and preparation, 2-hour general electives, 2-hour specialized electives and 2-hour drug and alcohol awareness.

Other construction workers are required to attend the OSHA 30-hour safety class or the OSHA 10-hour class with 20 hours of additional training consisting of 8 hours of fall prevention training, 4 hours of scaffolding safety training and the option to choose between 8 hours of Chapter 33 training,  4 hours of general electives or 4 hours of specialized effectives.

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construction workers are at risk of heat strokeWhile construction companies have to respect very strict safety protocol to prevent their workers being injured in construction accidents, they often overlook the global health of their workers.

In a recent opinion in Construction Dive, Gordon Childress, the executive VP and GM for the California division of Skanska Building USA  look at the risks of heart disease among construction workers and how can their employers help reduce these risks.

According to statistics from the CDC, 1 out of 4 construction workers is at risk of a heart disease. While some workers are genetically pre-disposed to this risk and have histories of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol running in their family, others simply have an unhealthy lifestyle that puts them at risk of developing such disease.

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OSHA logoA NY contractor was fined $138,000 for putting his employees at risk of dangerous construction accidents by not respecting multiple OSHA safety rules. OSHA investigators visited a Multifamily Housing Construction site located at 176 E. Denison Parkway in Corning, NY, and found that the contractor Riedman Cos., a non unionized contractor from Rochester, did not set up an enclosed chute to dispose of waste material from heights of 20 feet or more. Additionally, employees working at heights of 6 feet or more were not provided with adequate fall safety such as personal fall arrest system, safety net system and guardrail system.  As a result the contractor was hit with one willful violation and a $121,443 fine for  the absence of fall protection and 2 serious violations with fines of $10,409 for dangerous disposal of waste material and $ 6,940 for unsafe stairways.  The violations are being contested by Riedmans Cos. The total fine was the 8th highest OSHA fine received in the US during the last quarter of 2020.

The highest fine was issued to Fabcon Precast LLC in Ohio after a worker died at their facility. Fabcon was hit with a total of 10 serious and 5 willful violations for a total fine of $451,079 which is now being contested by the company.

The second highest fine was in an amount of $299,825 for a painting and restoration comapny that exposed its workers to methylene chloride and violated lead safety and cadmium standards. The company, Fortune Restoration Painting & Masonry in Illinois had already been hit with similar violations in 2014.

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8 construction workers died and 502 were injured on the job in New York City in 2020 compared to respectively 11 and 596 in 2019. The slowdown in the construction industry  related to the COVID-19 pandemic in all market sectors, except for healthcare construction, is the main factor behind this decline. Additionally Local Law 196 which was signed in 2017 but took effect in 2019 might also have contributed to a decrease in construction accident deaths and injuries in New York City. Local Law 196 requires that construction workers take a 40 hour safety training course and supervisors 62 hours safety course to be able to work on a NYC construction site. Most construction accidents are preventable and often occurred when workers lack sufficient knowledge or training.

NYC Construction accident fatalities decreased in every boroughs except for Brooklyn.

Construction Accident Deaths NYC 2020
Manhattan is the borough that saw the most significant decrease in construction workers fatalities in 2020. Two construction workers died in accidents in Manhattan last year compared to respectively 6, 6, 7, 5 and 7 in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. It is the fist time over the last 5 years that the number of construction accident fatalities in Manhattan is that low.

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the building from which the roofer fellA 27 year old construction worker fell to his death in Suffolk county, NY, yesterday afternoon. Hector Aranda-Sanchez was working on the roof of the Four Seasons Sunrooms and Windows company located at 5005 Veteran Memorial Hwy in Holbrook, NY, when he fell. Aranda-Sanchez was rushed to the hospital but he did not survive his injuries. The young man who was from Peekskill, was working for a Yonkers based roofing company according to the police. Investigation is still ongoing to find out the exact conditions of the accident.

Earlier the same day and also in Suffolk county, a landscaper lost his life after he fell from a tree. 51 year old Vicente Oliver was trimming a tree on property located on Bluebird lane in West Hills. The man was sitting on a branch that gave way and he fell 40 feet to the ground.

It is unclear if any of the two men were wearing required safety equipment.

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construction NYCAssuring a culture of safety on construction sites, allow a construction company not only to to make sure employees are safe and accidents are prevented but also to keep employees’ compensation costs under control control and have a spotless reputation.

Even small construction companies can install a few metrics that can go a long way in preventing accidents and reducing costs such as:

  • Substance abuse programs: previous studies have shown that alcohol and/or drugs are involved in one third of construction accidents. A strict alcohol and drug policy and the implementation of  alcohol and drug testing programs can lead to a reduction in construction accidents
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Linemen have one of the most dangerous job in the construction industryDerrick workers in oil gas and mining, roofers, ironworkers, crane operators, construction helpers, landscaping supervisors, highway maintenance workers, cement masons, ground maintenance workers, maintenance workers and mining machine operators have some of the highest death rates among all workers. Out of the top 25 most dangerous jobs  in the US, 12 of them are related to the construction industry according to a recent study released by AdvisorSmith.

Derrick operators in the oil gas and mining industry whose job is to operate and maintain the derrick and drill equipment used to extract oil or gas have the third most dangerous activity of all American workers behind logging workers and aircraft pilots and flight engineers. The average yearly salary of a derrick operator is $51,390 and the average fatal injury rate is 46 per 100,000 workers.  20 of them died on the job  in 2018 according to the most recent data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Roofers who average a $42,100 yearly salary come right behind them with a fatal injury rate of 41 per 100,000 workers. 96 of them died in roofing accidents in 2018.