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.
After reaching a peak in 2019 with 56 workers injured, the Bronx saw a decline in hard hat injuries in 2020 with 43 injuries in 2020.
107 construction workers sustained injuries on Brooklyn construction sites in 2020 compared to 137 in 2019 and 177 in 2018. After reaching a record high in 2018, the number of construction workers injured in Brooklyn declined to its lowest since 2016. A slowdown in construction activities and a new law requiring more training for workers may have contributed to this decline.
Last year, the annual number of construction workers injured in Manhattan dropped below 300 for the first time since 2015.
The Department of Buildings also classify injuries by category
The classification is very basic and sometimes questionable with many accident injuries falling into the “other” category. The accidents categorized as “other” are often small accidents such as a nail in the finger, tripping etc… The graph below highlights very clearly that falls remain the number one cause of injuries on New York construction sites.
141 hard hats were injured in fall accidents. In NYC, fall accidents are the number one cause of deaths and injuries on construction sites. Most falls occured because workers were not adequately protected and could have been prevented.
25 construction workers were injured after material fell on them. Depending on the height and the nature of the material falling, these types of accidents can cause minor injuries like scratches and abrasions or very serious ones such as blindness or concussion. Wearing a hard hat and making sure material and tools are proprely secure is key in avoiding these types of accidents. The installation of guardrails on scaffolds or debris nets can also prevent these accidents.
One worker was injured while doing ecavation and soil work. The number of workers injured in excavation and soil work dropped from 19 in 2015 to respectively 5, 6, 5, 3 and 1 in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. After a few deadly accidents related to unsafe excavation in Manhattan in 2015 resulted in some contractors being criminally charged, the number of excavation accident injuries declined in the following years.
No injuries were categorized as injuries related to mechanical construction accidents or related to scaffolding, shed, fence and shorinng installation accidents. This classification seems a little bit questionable especially when 323 injuries where classifed as “other”. Classifying almost two thirds of the construction accident injuries as “other” on construction sites in New York City is not very helpful in understanding what are the most common injuries and how to prevent them. Even small injuries if they occur too commonly can result in construction workers not being able to work for signifant periods of time and have finacial repercussions for contractors.
According to the DOT classification, only 2 workers were injured in accidents related to mechanical construction equipment since 2016.
According to the DOT again, only two people were injured in construction accidents related to scaffolding, shed, fence and shoring installation since the begining of 2015.