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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spray foam insulation can be dangerous for construction workersConstruction workers using spray-foam insulation are exposed to chemicals that can lead to asthma and skin conditions if they don’t use adequate protection. Spray foam insulation is one of the most popular choices for home owners to save energy, however some of the chemicals used to make the foam are detrimental to human health.

Spray polyurethane foam contains isocyanates and flame retardant TCPP than can cause severe breathing and skin problems. In a recent webinar from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)  Dhimiter Bello, ScD, MSc; Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell explained the results of recent studies and summarized the risks of exposure to dangerous chemicals in spray foam insulation associated with current work practices.

Overall airborne exposure to spray foam insulation are usually below OSHA recommended levels but some risks are still unknowns and under evaluation (see blog from Center for Disease Control and Prevention).  The risk of dermal exposure is elevated for both exposure to isocyanates and TCPP and is a major concern when using SPF applications. Nitrile gloves as well as breathable coveralls such as Tyvek or PP provide construction workers with significant protection when used during spray-foam insulation applications. It is important that Nitrile gloves be at least 5 mil. thick to provide a better resistance to wear and tear.

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Our NY personal injury law firm is proud to announce that our attorneys Ben. B. Rubinowitz and Christopher J. Donadio obtained a $6.25 million verdict in a construction accident that occurred in Manhattan.

The case involved a construction worker, who was injured while performing brick restoration work on an apartment building. On the day of the incident, the worker was ordered to climb on to a rope scaffold that was positioned on the fourth floor of the apartment building to obtain tools needed for the brick work. The worker was unaware that the scaffold was not properly secured. While the worker was walking on the scaffold, it shifted and caused the worker to fall 30-40 feet on to the concrete courtyard below.

The worker was rushed to Harlem Hospital where he was diagnosed with fractures to his left elbow and pelvis. While in the hospital, he underwent an irrigation and debridement of his left elbow, as well as an open reduction internal fixation of the elbow. While in the hospital, the injured worker developed an ileus, which is a disruption in the normal operation of the bowels. As a result of the ileus, the worker suffered severe abdominal distension that was managed with nasogastric and rectal tubes. After a week at Harlem Hospital, the injured worker was transferred to Bellevue Hospital for a surgery on his pelvis consisting of an open reduction internal fixation, as well as for further management of his ileus.

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Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industryThe Fourth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction kicked off Yesterday and will take place everyday this week in New York and all over the country. Employers in the construction industry are invited by OSHA, NIOSH and NORA to take a break and conduct a discussion or a workshop on fall prevention with their workers.

52 workers fatally fell on the job in New York during the recent construction boom. (see previous blog). Fall are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They account for 37% of all deaths on construction sites. More than half of these fatal falls occurred in small companies that have 10 employees or less. Construction workers aged 45 to 54 years old are the most at risk of dying in a fall.

Last year in the US, 350 hard hats suffered a fatal fall. 1 out of 3 fefalling from ladders preventionll from 15 feet or less and 1 out of 4 fell from a ladder.  Construction workers may have a false sense of security when using a ladder because it is “not that high” but if they are not using them safely they can get killed. Falls from ladders can be prevented by following safe work practices described below.

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Since 2011, 52 construction workers fell to their death in New York City. In its recently published First Quarter Report, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is highlighting how the surge in work permits over the last few years is correlated to the high number of fatal falls especially in Manhattan.

Fatal falls in NYC and residential permits issued over the last 6 years
New York City is not the only location affected by a rise in fall fatalities. All over the U.S. as the economy picked up, more construction workers lost their lives on the job. According to recent statistics, 985 construction workers died in 2015. Among them 367 fell to their death.

Ahead of  the 4th Annual National Stand-Down to prevent falls in the construction industry, the CPWR decided to focus its 2017 first quarter report solely on fatal and non fatal falls in the construction industry. The report illustrates how economic ups and downs since the beginning of 2000 affected employment in the construction industry.  It points out the higher volatility in employment for Hispanic workers As of last year Hispanic workers were representing 30% of the construction workers population while in 2003 when the economy was slower they were representing 2.1%. The number of fatalities in construction sites is also highly correlated to the pace of the economy with the number of fall fatalities usually rising faster during an economic recovery. Again Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall on a construction site.

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Radio-AntennasConstruction workers exposed to radio-frequency (RF) radiation may suffer personal injury such as blindness and sterility. Construction workers who are wearing pacemakers and other medical devices should also be aware that electromagnetic signals could cause their devices to malfunction. Additionally  recent research has found it possible that such radiation may also be carcinogenic to humans. The long term effects of exposures to radio-frequency radiation is still being studied.  Roofers or construction workers who are performing tasks on sides of buildings or near news gathering trucks are the most at risk of exposure to hazardous level of RF radiation.

In recent years the proliferation of cellular antennas and other devices transmitting electromagnetic signals has lead to health concerns about the danger of potentially harmful exposure to radio frequency signals. In 2014, the National Roofing Contractors Association in association with the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers  worked with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) to reduce the illnesses and injuries in the roofing industry. They created together the Roofing r2p Partnership. This new partnership soon raised concern about the emerging hazard caused by the proliferation of RF antennas and the potential risks faced by construction workers in the roofing industry. As a result, a program was developed by the Roofing r2p Partnership* and the multi-trade labor-management RF Radiation Work Group* to raise awareness about the potential risks of RF radiation.

You can learn more about the new Radio-frequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry in a free webinar that will be hosted by the CPWR on Tuesday April 25th at 2;00 pm ET. During this 45 minutes webinar participants will learn more about the hazard of RF radiation exposure and how workers can be trained to prevent such exposures using the newly developed Radio-frequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry. Click here to register for this webinar. 

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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.