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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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increased risk of crashes on highway work zonesHighway construction zones are dangerous areas where both construction workers and motorists are at risk of getting injured or killed in crashes.

An annual study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS), found that during the past year 64% of contractors working on highways experienced at least one crash on their work site. Among them, 32% reported 5 crashes or more.

5 or more construction workers were injured in 2% of these crashes, 3 workers were injured in 3% of them, 2 in 5% of them and  1 hard hat was injured in 8% of them. In the majority of the accidents (82%) no workers were injured.

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Queens construction site where the fatal accident occurred
NYC Construction workers who have been injured or families of construction workers who died on the job can often sue the contractor and/or the owner of the construction sites as, sadly, the majority of construction accidents occurring on New York sites are the result of negligence.

The most common construction accident cases resulting in litigation in New York City are accidents related to falls. New York Labor Law Section 240 also known as the Saffold Law protects hard hats who fell from heights or got struck by a falling object.

A look at last April NYC construction accidents indicates that out of the 35 accidents that resulted in death or injuries, 20 of them were preventable and occurred after safety rules were violated. Among them were 12 fall accidents. Two of them were deadly.

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OSHA logoDME Construction Associates, a negligent NY contractor who is now also listed as a severe violator, was issued a $1.2 million  fine by OSHA for 4 serious and 9 willful violations of safety rules.

The contractor was slapped with the hefty fine after one of its employees fell to his death while working on the roof of the Town of Oyster Bay solid waste disposal facility in Old Bethpage, Nassau County, NY. The accident occurred on August 19th 2021. The 56 year old construction worker fell 18 feet through an unprotected skylight. Despite working on a rooftop, he was not provided any personal fall protection equipment by his employer as required by law.

OSHA’s investigators found that the contractor failed to provide personal fall safety equipment for employees working on the rooftop. Additionally the contractor failed to protect the skylight as well as other roof openings and roof edges and exposed workers to falls of up to 22 feet.

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2 hard hats died during the first quarter of 2022 and 110 of them were injured while working on construction sites in New York City. Both fatalities were fall accidents, both occurred in Brooklyn and both were preventable.

The first fatality occurred on February 11. Angel Pilataxi, a father of 3 children and 3 step children fell to his death at a construction site located at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn. According to the DOB investigation,  the worker was taking measurements on the edge of the roof on the eighth floor when the accident happened. He was not using a safety harness and fell over the parapet. He was found unconscious lying on the second floor terrace. He did not survive. Investigators found that the worker and a co-worker who was working with him at the time of the accident not only did not have a site safety training card but also did not receive any site-specific safety training and did not participate in a pre-shit meeting in the morning. At the time of the accident a full stop order was issued and the DOB issued a violation failure to safeguard persons and property affected by the construction operations.

The second fatal accident occurred on a construction site located at 295 St John’s Place on March 21st. A rigging foreman who was installing a suspended scaffolding go caught between the fire stairs and the scaffold, lost his balance and fell fifteen feet onto a metal fence. He died from his injuries. A full stop work was issued and the DOB also issued a violation for failure to safeguard person and property affected by construction.

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In its latest bulletin, the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at injuries and fatalities sustained by construction workers in the US over a 10 years period. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the fatal injuries and on on employer logs obtained from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) for the non fatal injuries, this bulletin provides an overview of the trends of injuries and deaths in the construction industry.

Construction work remains one of  the most dangerous job in the US

In 2020 construction workers represented 7.3% of the total workforce in the US and 21.7% of the workforce fatal injuries. Globally, between 2011 and 2020, working on a construction site became more dangerous with both hard hat fatality and injury rates on the rise. 2020 was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and while less fatalities and injuries were reported because the activity was limited, the fatality rate and the injury rate both reached a record high that year.

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NYC Construction Safety WeekFalls are the main cause of  injuries and deaths for construction workers in New York City and most of them can be prevented.

A large safety awareness campaign is going on this week in New York City to reduce accidents on construction sites, with a focus on fall accidents.

Construction Safety Week is a yearly safety campaign organized by the NYC Department of Buildings to remind workers and their employers and families that safety best practices on construction sites prevent accident injuries and deaths.

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construction workers working at height in NYCAs spring is here and construction activities are booming in the city, the recent release of the NYC Department of Buildings Construction Safety report is a bleak reminder of the multiple fatalities that occurred on New York construction sites during the same season last year. After two workers fell to their death in February,  two other hard hats died in April, one from electrocution and the other from a fall. Then in May, two workers were crushed by a falling elevator cabin and one of them died while the other one was critically injured. The same month two other workers fell to their death in Long Island City and Flatbush.

After this horrible spring, the DOT organized a giant sweet of almost all construction sites in NYC, sending to the field an army of investigators and shutting down any construction site where major safety violations were discovered.  As a result  fewer fatalities were reported during the remaining months of the year with two other worker falling to their death, one in Manhattan in September and one in Gowanus in November.

The reports also confirms that after a drop of activity related to the Covid19 lockdown, construction activity in NYC increased again in 2021. A total of 168,423 construction permits were issued in 2021 compared to 147,760 in 2020. Manhattan was the borough with the highest number of permits issued (63,320)  however Queens came number one for new buildings filed with 573 applications, followed by Staten Island with 521 application.  Brooklyn had the highest number of certificates of occupancy issued (2,053) followed by Queens (1,613).

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fall prevention posterLast year, 7 out of the 9 NYC construction worker deaths reported by the Department of Buildings were caused by falls. Additionnally the DOB also reported that 194 workers were injured in fall accidents on New York City construction sites during the same period. This was a record high compared to the previous years (see previous blog). Despite increased safety training requirements for workers, fall remains the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries in the New York construction industry and nationally as well. According to the most recent statistics from the BLS 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded nationally in 2020 were fall fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable.

Preventing fall accidents is the reason why, every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in collaboration with multiple other partners involved in workplace safety such as the CPWR and NORA are organizing a National Stand Down during which employers are invited to voluntarily take a break from work and sit down with their workers to discuss or participate to activities  related to fall hazards.

Anyone can participate and every year sees more and more participants from major corporate construction companies to small contractors, including the US Army and other governmental participants. All employers  participating receive a certificate.

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Construction accident fatalities and injuries in New York City in 2021 were a little bit higher than in 2020 but lower than during the years preceding the Covid19 crisis according to the New York City Department of Buildings statistics.  The DOB only reports construction worker fatalities that are caused by  building code violations. Brooklyn and Manhattan had the most fatalities, 3 each while the other boroughs all recorded one fatality each for a total of 9 worker fatalities compared to 8 in 2020 and 11 in 2019.

Construction accident deaths NYC 2021
7 out of the 9 hard hat deaths were caused by fall and 2 of them were caused by accidents related to mechanical construction equipment failure. Despite construction workers now being required to follow safety training, fall related fatalities were at their highest since 2017. Most fall accidents are preventable. They usually occur when safety rules are not respected.

Factors in New York construction worker deaths in 2021
Almost the same number of injuries were reported to the DOB in 2021 compared to 2020. 505 workers were injured in construction accidents in New York City in 2021 compared to 502 a year earlier and 596 in 2019. Most injuries’ occurred on Manhattan construction sites (300) followed by Brooklyn (105), Bronx (48), Queens (45) and Staten Island (7).

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440 HarmanA Nassau contractor whose negligence caused the death of a 5 year old child in Brooklyn, NYC, in 2019 has been indicted on  manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records. He is due back in court in May.

Alysson Pinto-Chauman had her skull crushed in front of her mom

The accident occurred on August 29 2019. 5 year old Alysson Pinto-Chaumana was with her mom and a group of friends standing in front of the high wall of a property located on Harman Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn when part of the wall suddenly collapsed on the toddler. Her skull was crushed in the accident. Her mom who was standing next to her witnessed the entire scene and said the vision will be engraved in her memory forever.