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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 Tagged with construction accident

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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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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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drone inspection can prevent accidentsRecent studies found that drones can be helpful in identifying hazards and preventing workers getting injured or killed in construction accidents.  The Center for Construction Research and Training is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday March 23 about drones in construction and specifically how they can help make construction sites safer. The webinar will be presented by the authors of 3 studies in this field:

  1. Rod Handy, MBA, Ph.D., CIH, University of Utah  who is the lead author of a study entitled Nebulizer-retrofitted drone deployment at residential construction sites will explain how water spraying drones can reduce exposure to air pollution and heat stress and as a result prevent dangerous illnesses
  2. Masoud Gheisari, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida who is the lead author of Using unmanned aerial systems for automated fall hazard monitoring in high-rise construction will share how drone technology can help identifying hazards and safety issues on construction sites especially the most common and dangerous ones that are related to falls. His study focuses on the monitoring of guardrails near unprotected edges and openings in a high rise construction site. The author developed an automated fall hazard recognition system that could facilitate the recognition of guardrails in high rise construction projects.
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safety on construction site is keySome construction workers, especially those working on emergency repairs are required to work for long period of time in sub-zero temperatures and as a result they might suffer cold related illnesses and injuries such as Hypothermia, Frostbite, Trench Foot and Chilblains.

How to prevent cold illnesses?

  • The most important way to prevent cold illnesses is to wear appropriate clothing that are made for cold, wet and windy conditions. Dressing with layers of loose fitting clothes that can be adjusted depending on the outside temperature and always wearing a hat that covers ears and if necessary a knit mask. Waterproof and insulated gloves as well as socks and waterproof and insulated shoes that keep the body dry are necessary when working outside for a long time. Additionnally. it is always a good idea to bring extra clothes to change  in cases clothes get wet.
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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsIn New York and in the US, construction companies, like any employers, are responsible for the safety of their employees while they are at work. If a construction worker is injured or killed on the job, the employer might be liable. Therefore during the pandemic they had to make sure that construction workers were adequately protected from getting the potentially deadly virus.

In their last month Data Bulleting, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), looked at how construction companies dealt with Safety Management during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the nature of their work, construction workers can not work from home and often have to work in teams. Therefore they can easily be exposed to Covid19 if one of the workers is sick. As a result, construction businesses had to take measures to keep their employees safe from potential viral transmission.  However  the CPWR found that safety measures were different from one construction business to the other.

It is not a surprise that three quarters of construction businesses in the US reported that their business suffered from the Covid-19 crisis and that  a quarter of them suffered large decreases in employment compared to pre-pandemic levels. Among the extra expenses related to Covid19, many construction businesses implemented on-site testing as many of them also did not require vaccination for employees working on their construction sites.  While 11% of all nonfarm businesses require their onsite employees to be vaccinated, only 6% of construction companies do.

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roofers fatalityRoofers have one of the most dangerous occupations among all workers. Every year more than hundred of them are dying in fall accidents. According to the most recent statistics, among the 401 fall fatalities recorded in the construction industry in 2019, 146 of them were roofer fatalities. Roofers have the fourth highest fatal injury rate after fishing and hunting workers, logging workers and aircraft and flight engineers according to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (see graph on the left)

Many fatal falls could have been prevented if  roofers were using a personal fall arrest

In New York, employers are required by law to provide roofers with a personal fall arrest system that meets the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z359).  A personal fall arrest system consists of a full body harness, connectors and lanyards that will limit the fall distance by being attached to a fixed anchor. Under New York Law, roofers also have to take a determined amount of hours of training in order to learn how to use the equipment.

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road work signRoad construction accidents have been increasing during the pandemic. According to a recent article in Construction Dive, 60% of contractors reported an increase in crashes in their work zone last year.

During the lockdown as construction work was deemed essential in many States, Department of Transportation officials thought that significantly less cars on the road would provide a good opportunity for them to execute some road work without blocking and disturbing too much traffic.  However, with less traffic on the road, speeding and other reckless driving behavior increased and contractors reported  more crashes in highway work zones all over the country during the lockdown.  In a PEW study that was released last year, many States recorded an increased in work zone crashes despite a decline in traffic in the US by 40% in April and 26% in May.

444 reckless drivers ticketed during Operation Hard Hat in NY State

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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsStruck by injuries are the most common non-fatal injuries sustained by construction workers.

Among the 79.7 k construction workers who were injured in 2019, 16.6K suffered struck by injuries and 4 K suffered struck against injuries. Struck by accidents are also among the top causes of construction workers fatalities. In 2019, out of a total of 1,102 workers fatalities, 80 construction workers died after being struck by a vehicle and 70 of them died after being struck by an object or equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently analyzed data related to these types of injuries and published the result of the study in a recent data-bulletin. Researchers at CPWR found that there was a big difference on how fatal and non-fatal struck by injuries occur. Fatal struck by injuries mostly occur when a construction worker is struck by a vehicle while non fatal struck by injuries are mostly caused by handheld objects or equipment.

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Safety Stand down to prevent fall in construction 2021The annual Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction started Today and will last all week-long.

In 2019, among the 1,061 construction workers fatalities recorded in the US by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 401 of them were caused by falls.  Most of these accidents could have been prevented if adequate safety measures were in place. Many fall fatalities could be avoided by following these 5 basic rules:

  1. Always use fall protection if you are working at 6 feet or more
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construction workers working at height in NYCThe American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was created in 1918. Its goal was to standardize various manufacturing, engineering or safety processes. The first project focused on pipe thread sizes. In  1992, ANSI developed the  “ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 American National Standard” for personal fall arrest systems in non-construction occupations. This standard was revised and improved significantly since it was released and has become a worldwide reference while designing and testing the performance of products and techniques used by construction workers while working at heights.

This Afternoon  at 2:00 pm ET and ahead of the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls, the Center for Construction Research and Training is hosting a free webinar with members of the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standards Committee. The webinar will be a Q&A panel during which participants will learn tips and techniques to use the ANSI/ASSE Z359 standards on construction sites and protect workers from fall. (click here to register for the event and send your questions to the panel).

While adhering to the ANSI/ASSE Z359 standards is voluntary,  those who do so are keeping up to date with the most recent findings related to protecting workers from falls. Very often regulators such as OSHA are referring to ANSI standards to develop regulations.