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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2 construction workers died  and 79 were injured on the job in New York City during the first two months of 2021. One fatality occurred in  Staten Island and the other one in Manhattan. In both cases the worker fell. Last year, only one worker died in NYC construction accidents over the first 2 months of the year and the year before, no fatalities were recorded during the same period. Since 2015, the number of construction worker fatalities during the first two months of the year varied between 0 and 2. Among the 79 workers injured, 41 of them were injured in fall accidents. (click on graphs for full size)

construction accident deaths by borough February 2021
Falls remain the most common cause of fatalities for construction workers in New York City. The two fatal accidents that occurred in February were falls. Both accidents could have been prevented if adequate safety measures had been in place. The first accident took place on a construction site located at 730 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The worker who died was cleaning an area where a permanent building trash chute was being installed. He stepped on a hole cover that snapped and gave way. The worker fell to the floor below. He was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries. The second fatal accident occurred at 144 Dunham Street in Staten Island. A roofer fell from the roof and did not survive the injuries he sustained during the fall. The inspectors found that the working permit for the construction site had expired. Multiple safety infractions were found at the site and the DOB issued a full stop work order for failure to safeguard persons and property. Roofers have the highest rate of fatalities among all categories of construction workers.

Factors in NYC fatal construction accidents February 21
79 construction workers were injured in New York City during the first two months of the year. This is the lowest number of workers injured during the first two months of the year since 2017. 48 of these accidents took place in Manhattan, 14 in Brooklyn, 11 in Queens, 4 in the Bronx and 1 in Staten Island.

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crane in New yorkOn April 26th, as part of the second National Stand-Down to prevent struck by accidents among construction workers, two free webinars will be offered by the NORA Construction Sector Council.

The first webinar will take place from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and will focus on preventing struck by-accidents that occur around cranes and during lifting operations. According to statistics from the Center for Construction Research and Training, one crane accident occurs for every 10,000 hours of use. Crane collapsing or crane tipping are among the most common crane accidents. In these types of accidents, construction workers have a high risk to be crushed not only by the crane but also by the heavy material carried by the crane.  Most of the time these accidents occur because of human errors such as:

  • not using the manufacturer’s load charge for the crane
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construction worker using laptopInspections by the DOT play an important role in keeping NYC construction sites safe and preventing dangerous construction accidents. The covid19  crisis has demonstrated that new online technologies can sometimes be used to replace meetings in person or visiting locations, saving time and resources.  The NYC Department of Building is testing  options to conduct Remote Video Inspections instead of sending inspectors on location.

A pilot program that started on March 19th is now being run until April 30 and proposing to Staten Island contractors who require a CO-NB-ALT1 Construction DEV inspection and to Brooklyn contractors who require a “SWO Rescission/Work Without Permit Construction ENF” inspection to do these remotely.

While doing the request for such inspections, contractors have the option to fill out a Request for a Remote Video Inspection and Attestation. The contractor and any other authorized attendees will then receive an email invitation for the remote inspection with a link to an app that attendees can download on their phone to participate in the online inspection.

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Hard-Rock-Hotel-construction-accident-e1582228604154The construction industry saw a period of growth during the last decade and with more workers employed, the number of hard hat injuries and deaths also increased.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently published a study looking at construction worker fatal injuries from 2011 to 2019. They found that while the number of workers employed in the industry grew by more than 25%  between 2011 and 2019, the number of fatal injuries recorded a 41.1% increase. While looking at ethnicity, Hispanic workers were the most commonly hired workers and their employment rate grew by 55% during the period under review. They also recorded a jump in 89.8% in job fatalities.

While looking at construction workers ‘age, the middle age workers category (45 to 64 year old) recorded the highest number of deaths, however while looking at the rate of fatalities, workers over 65 years old were the most at risk of dying on the job with a rate of 22 deaths per 100,000 Full time workers (FTWs), compared to 9.6 per 100,000 FTWs for workers under 55 years old.

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fall prevention 2021Despite safety regulations and awareness campaigns falls continue to be the number one cause of deaths and injuries among construction workers.  According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, among the 1008 construction worker fatalities recorded nationally in 2018, 320 were fall fatalities.

To continue raising awareness about the risks of fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is partnering with multiple construction safety advocates and governmental organizations  such as  the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE),  the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA),  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),  the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the U.S. Navy to educate as many construction workers as possible on fall safety.

Any companies involved in construction can participate in the Stand-Down 2021 and will receive a certificate of participation if they do so

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safety on construction site is keyPreventing construction accidents and making sure every hard hat is safe on a job site should be a priority for every contractor and developer. Recently Construction Dive looked at the construction safety trends for 2021. Here is a summary:

  • OSHA penalties have been adjusted to the inflation rate and now the maximum penalty for serious and other-than-serious violations is $13,653 per violation compared to 13,494 last year. The maximum penalty for for willful or repeated violations is now $136,532 per violation. It was $134,937 per violation last year.
  • OSHA also announced that it changed the system used to collect penalties. Violators will receive a series of 3 payment letters that will be sent 7, 30 and 60 days after a violator failed to timely pay the penalty. A phone call will also be made 14 days after the payment due date. Establishments that are not on an affordable payment plan and did not pay a penalty will be put on a priority list for further inspection.
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location of the blakhoe accidentA New York City pedestrian crossing the street was killed by a backhoe on Friday afternoon. 61 year old Estelle Davis was walking in a crosswalk near New Lots and Van Sinderen Avenues. She was looking down at her phone when a backhoe that was doing work nearby struck her.  The backhoe belongs to Vail Industry, an independent contractor that was hired by Con Ed to perform some work in the area. Estelle Davis was on her way to work. She was a nurse working two jobs and also serves as pastor on Sunday.

The police thought initially that the woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver but a video surveillance captured images of the accident. Investigation is still ongoing but it is not clear yet why heavy construction equipment was backing up in a pedestrian area with no protection or warning. A flag worker was present at the scene but he was positioned on the other side of the machine. (Read more in the NY Daily News )

Extensive regulations have been developed by OSHA to prevent pedestrians being run over by heavy construction equipment

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fall fatalities in NYC 2020A hard hat died after he fell from the 16th floor at a construction site in Manhattan. The 52 year old worker was a unionized sheet metal worker who had been with Local 28 for 24 years. He was doing doing some work at the NYU Ambulatory Care Center located on 41st Street between Third and Second Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The Medical Center is open to patients but some construction is still going on inside and outside. The DOB told the media that the fall was not related to the construction going on inside the building. The worker arrived at the Medical Center at 6:30 am last Friday morning and went to the back of the building and took a hoist elevator that runs at the exterior of the building. Two hours later the man fell and was found lying dead on the ground at the back of the building. The DOT is still investigating the exact cause of the accident.

Eric Meslin, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28 president and business manager  told the News “I worked with him personally back when we had tools on. He was a good guy to be around,” Meslin said. “He had a big personality. It’s hitting our members hard.”

Falls are the number one cause of construction workers fatalities. Last year among the 8 construction workers fatalities reported by the New York City Department of Buildings, 4 of them were falls. (see previous blog)

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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.