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 Tagged with construction accident

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Falls_Are_Leading_Cause_of_Death_Map_InfographicEvery year more than 200 construction workers die and around 10,000 are seriously injured after falling on the job in the US. Falls are the number one cause of death in construction accidents. Most of them are preventable. Planning ahead, using proper equipment and being trained for the job are key to prevent falls from scaffolds, roofs or ladders.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council are joining forces to organize the fourth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

This awareness campaign will take place all over the Country from May 8th to May 12th. Construction companies as well as contractors and their employees are invited to halt regular activities and organize a workshop to develop awareness on safety measures to prevent falls on construction sites. 

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OSHA logoWorkers especially construction workers may have a higher risk of getting injured on the job if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decides to definitely stop releasing enforcement news.  According to a recent article in Fair Warning, OSHA hasn’t published any enforcement press releases since Inauguration Day.

Because OSHA doesn’t have enough inspectors to cover all US workplaces, news releases related to penalties and enforcement of workplace safety are a powerful tool to prevent employers from committing safety violations. Usually the agency releases between 30 and 50 of  these type of announcements every month.  It has been a month and half since Trump was installed as the American President and not one single enforcement news has been released by OSHA. The same happened to the Wage and Hour division of the Labor Department which was previously releasing news on back wages paid to employees. Fair Warning contacted both OSHA and “Wage and Hour” to ask them about this six weeks period of silence but none of them replied.  Despite news releases being halted officials at the Labor Department have confirmed that OSHA inspections are still going on. An explanation for this silence may be the still ongoing and longer than usual transition at the Top of  the Labor Department. However looking at the past, never has such an interruption of news releases occurred during a change of presidency at the White House.

The policy of the Trump administration to fail to release enforcement news regarding unsafe work conditions is clear evidence that the Trump administration is not following through on campaign promises to protect the average middle class worker. Additional efforts to scale back or to delay workplace regulations are under way.  For example two days ago,  the Labor Department just proposed to delay a regulation aimed at protecting construction workers from beryllium, a toxic metal. Things are only going to get worse as evidenced by the proposed cuts for the EPA.

 

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CPWR logoFalls are the number one cause of death among construction workers. Most of them are preventable. Every year, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are joining forces to launch a national construction fall prevention campaign. They are now getting ready for the 2017 Safety Stand-Down. If you want  to learn more about this campaign and hear about the results of the previous fall prevention campaigns you are welcome to join a free webinar. During this webinar, leaders from the CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will review the past campaigns and present their plans for 2017. The webinar will be held Wednesday March 1st at 2:00 pm. If you would like to register please click here.

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Near Missed event visualized with BMI20% of  the workers who die at work are construction workers but they represent only 4% of the employed workforce in the US. Hard hats are among the workers that have the most risk of being injured or even dying on the job. Sadly, most of these accidents are preventable.

As technology develops, the construction industry has been relying more and more on Building Information Modeling (BIM) to develop its projects. BIM is used throughout the life cycle of a construction project to digitally monitor the design, the plan and the construction itself. BIM can also be used for safety management.

A recent short study published by the Center For Construction Research and Training shows how “near miss accidents” can be visualized in Building Information Modeling.  The authors of the study are Dr Eric Marks and Xu Chen from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.  Dr Eric Marks recently hosted a free 30 min CPWR Webinar on this subject. The webinar can be seen here.

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Construction worker helpin another one to set up safety harness

Picture source: Wikipedia. Photos taken on residential construction sites which use fall arrest systems

Construction workers have a higher risk of accidents than many other workers in other industries. According to the most recent census of fatal occupational injuries, 611 workers died in construction accidents in the US in 2014. It is the highest number of construction worker deaths since 2009.

Most studies about construction workers safety present the management perspective. In a recently published study, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) focuses on workers perception.

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As the construction industry is booming again, immigrant construction workers are facing increased risks of exploitation. In a recent article in the Globe, Beth Healy and Megane Woolhouse investigate the practices of greedy contractors looking for cheap labor.

Immigrants sometimes very young are being hired illegally by contractors. They are paid cash below the minimum wage. They have no insurance. If they are injured on the job, they are often pressured not to report their injury.  15 year old Luis Mayancela fell two stories from a roof. He broke his leg. His contractor didn’t even called an ambulance. A co-worker drove him to the Emergency Room. After the accident, his boss denied all responsibility.

Because they are illegal, injured construction workers often fear retaliation and are pressured not to report their injuries. In their investigation, Healy and Woolhouse denounce industry practices that routinely exploit immigrant workers. Because many of them do not speak English well and are unfamiliar with their rights they often don’t even have a written agreement with their employers.

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construction sitePromoting safety culture not only reduces the risk of accidents at construction sites but also impacts other business aspects such as productivity and competitiveness. Large construction firms understand this concept and apply it in their day to day business while small construction firms are still lagging behind.

A recent survey by the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at the difference in safety culture and safety management between small and large companies.

Small firms with 1 to 9 employees represent a little more than 10% of the construction firms. Those with over 500 employees represent approximately 20% of them. Construction firms with 10 to 49 employees represent the biggest part, around 30% of construction firms.  Small firms usually work on low-rise commercial and residential projects while larger ones work on high rise and industrial projects.

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timber formwork The traditional way of building slab form work entails many risks of accidents and injuries to construction workers. The formwork is built on site, usually out of timber and plywood and concrete is poured into it. Several risks of accidents and injuries are associated with this operation such as:

  1. Serious injury or even death caused by a fall off the unprotected sides of the work zone’s leading edge.
  2. Serious injury caused by falling objects such as tools or material to workers  active below the area of the traditional formwork construction
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Too many workers especially in the construction industry are still being injured or killed at the work place because their boss ignores safety rules. When such tragedy happens we call it an accident. However when a boss ignores safety rules and an employee is being injured or killed because of it, shouldn’t the boss be criminally prosecuted? When a construction worker dies in a trench collapse because the developer or the contractor ignored safety rules isn’t it a crime?

In a recent article in Fair Warning Rena Steinzor,  a Law Professor at the University of Maryland and a Member Scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform and Katherine Tracy a Policy Analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform are advocating for the criminal prosecution of CEOs who are putting profit ahead of safety and treat employees injuries and deaths as a cost of doing business.

Read the complete article here.

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safety culture constructionConstruction workers have a high risk of getting injured or even dying in an accident while at work. Construction accidents often happen when negligent contractors try to save time or money and put profit ahead of their own workers safety. A new study looking at safety practices among contractors shows that increased safety on construction sites indeed increases Return on Investment (ROI) and attracts and retains more talented hard hats. The recently released study “Building a Safety Culture SmartMarket Report” was produced by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and United Rental, a construction equipment rental company.

For the study, Dodge Data & Analytics analyzed 254 American contractors using 33 indicators of safety culture in the construction industry. They found that approximately one third of the contractors were promoting a high safety culture standard in their day to day business and were investing heavily in safety management practices. Another third were somewhat promoting safety culture in their company. The last third were contractors who didn’t have much interest about safety culture and didn’t invest much in it.

The study shows that contractors who invested the most in workers safety reported less injuries, improved their projects quality, increased their projects ROI, had a lower staff turnover and were able to attract staff more easily than contractors who didn’t invest in workers safety.