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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NYC construction workersConstruction workers and extraction workers not only have a high risk of getting injured on the job but also they are the most at risk of getting addicted to drugs such as non prescription opioid, cocaine and marijuana according to a recent study published by NYU. The study looked at 290,000 workers belonging to 13 different industries and found out that 3.4% of construction workers were misusing painkillers compared to a 2% average for the rest of the professions.

The study confirms that the opiate crisis is a major problem in the construction industry but also found that construction workers were also consuming more marijuana and cocaine than other workers. The study links the increased risk of addictions to all 3 substances to the precarious condition of employment sustained by construction workers and found that absenteeism is a trigger  for increased used of all 3 drugs. The study also found that  employers with written drug policies  have less workers dealing with cocaine addiction and employers using drug testing had less workers using marijuana.

Drug addiction treatments not proposed by employers

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Since 2011 the number of construction workers who died in a fall accident increased by 45% according to the recent report “Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry” released by the The Center for Construction Research and Training.

The report focuses mostly on data from 2011 to 2017 and found that despite a slow down in construction accident fatalities between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths related to fall accidents continued to rise. 389 construction workers fell to their death in 2017 compared to 388 in 2016.

construction deaths and fall deaths 2003 to 2017
Among the 389 fall fatalities, 367 were to a lower level. Falls from roofs are the most common and account for approximately one third of the fall fatalities. Falls from ladders are the second most common causes of fall fatalities and account for approximately a quarter of them.  All in all falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds account for more than 70% of all falls to a lower level.

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Trench and excavation accident prevention infographicConstruction workers who are working in trenching and excavation are exposed to extremely dangerous hazards resulting most of the time from collapse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 130 hard hats died in trenching and excavation accidents between 2011 and 2016.

Half of these fatalities occurred between 2015 and 2016.

Among the 130 dead workers, 104 were working for the private construction industry and among them 40 died at industrial places and premises, 39 died at private residence sites and 21 died at streets or highways construction sites.

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harness safety equipment on scaffold The leading cause of construction workers deaths are falls. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a brochure with information on how employers and construction workers can better prevent fall injuries and deaths. Every year in the US more than 31o workers die and more than 10,350 are injured after falling from heights. Workers on roofs, workers on ladders and workers on scaffolds have the highest risk of getting injured in a fall. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor, in 2016, 124 workers died after falling from a roof, 104 of them died after falling from a ladder and 60 of them died after falling from a scaffold.

Roofers have the most dangerous occupation

81% of people dying after falling from a roof are construction workers. Most common factors contributing to this fatal accidents are inexperience, lack of fall protection,  no safety harness, fall protection system not proprely installed, working alone, bad weather conditions. Falls can be prevented by implementing a serious fall protection program, making sure workers all have proper safety equipment and are proprely trained to use it,inspecting fall equipment, using proper anchorage, using buddy system and monitoring weather conditions

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Fall Prevention Campaign887 workers lost their life after falling at their job sites in 2017 according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest number of fall deaths ever recorded by the BLS since the agency started to track these numbers almost 30 years ago. Fall fatalities account for 17% of all job-related fatalities and 40% of all construction job-related fatalities.

The most at risk are often construction workers with little training and experience who have been hired to work on construction sites after the recent boom in construction led to a labor force shortage in the industry. 60% of construction workers who died in a fall in 2017 were working for small companies (1 to 10 workers). As a comparison small construction companies only hire a third of the workforce in the construction industry in the US. Small companies are often hired for residential construction, a sector where fatal falls more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall accident. Language barrier, little training and also the fear of immigration authorities preventing undocumented workers to report dangerous conditions to OSHA are among the factors that led Hispanic workers to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry.

Fall related violations are the most common OSHA violations

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Construction workerThe leading cause of non fatal personal injuries among construction workers is Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Construction work is physically demanding and involves manual material handling that requires construction workers to effectuate tasks such as carrying, pushing, lifting, lowering or holding heavy material or equipment. As a result construction workers are prone to soft tissues injuries. Strains and sprains are common as well as more serious injuries to the muscles, the tendons, the ligaments, the nerves, the cartilages and the disks. Not only musculoskeletal disorders  can be extremely painful but they also force the worker to stop working and therefore reducing his income. It is also a burden for the employer in terms of productivity.  Healthy workers keeps costs low and productivity high for contractors. Therefore incorporating ergonomics on a construction site is a win win situation for both workers and contractors.

Helping contractors address ergonomic hazards and reduce workers risk for musculoskeletal disorders

This afternoon the Center For for Construction Research and Training is offering a free webinar that will look at how to Incorporate Ergonomics into a Construction Safety Management Program. Presented by Ann Marie Dale, Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, the seminar will introduce participants to available tools, equipment and work processes that are available to reduce the physical demand of the construction workers job. She will explain how contractors can include these tools and techniques in the day to day activities of a construction site and promote a culture of safety on the construction site. Dr Dale has over 30 years of experience in the clinical treatment of work-related upper extremity conditions and in worksite based prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

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Elevator Accident Deaths in ConstructionIn 2017 24,890 people who suffered personal injury in an escalator or elevator accident were treated in American hospitals, compared to 25,951 in 2016 and 19,005 in 2007. The number of elevator accident injuries has been on the rise over the last 10 years in the US.

Fatalities related to elevator and escalator accidents are less common and occur mostly on construction sites. According to the Quarterly Report recently published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) 28 workers died in elevator accidents on construction sites in 2016 compared to 14 in 2003. The number of workers dying in elevator accidents has been on a rising trend since 2003 with a peak at 37 in 2015.

The workers who are the most at risk of dying in an elevator accidents are those who are constructing, assembling or dismantling elevators. They represent 40% of the elevator accidents fatalities in construction. Workers who are operating heavy equipment and workers in charge of the repair and the maintenance are also at risk of dying in elevator accidents. They both represent 20% of the elevator accident fatalities suffered by construction workers.

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Protect construction workers from winter injuriesDuring the winter, New York construction workers face difficult conditions  that put them at risk of specific injuries. Contractors are responsible for their workers safety and they should take extra precautions to protect them from cold related injuries.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) just released a serie of infographics in English and Spanish that can be used by contractors to make sure their employees are taking special precautions to protect themselves from winter injuries.

Workers should dress appropriately and contractors should make sure that they provide a heated area for their workers where they can take frequent breaks and drink plenty of warm and sweet beverages. Caffeine and of course alcohol should be avoided.

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NYC construction workers Failure to provide fall protection to workers  continues to be the most frequent violation found by OSHA inspectors while visiting construction sites or any other work site of other industries. From October 1st 20017 to September 20 2018, OSHA issued 7,270 violations to employers who failed to provide their employees with appropriate fall protection. Falls are also the number one cause of death on American construction sites. One of the most serious violators was Kasper Roofing & Construction in Florida. OSHA proposed a fine of $134,510 after the death of a roofer. Roofers for this company were working with no protection at all and without any safety training on fall hazards.

The second most common OSHA citation was related to hazard communication. Companies using toxic or dangerous chemicals and substances are required by law to proprely identify and label these products. They have to make sure that their employees know about the potential danger of these products by providing them with appropriate training on how to work with or near these products. At the beginning of this month an employee at a drilling company in Alabama died after flammable welding gas stored in an unventilated storage container exploded when he opened the door of the container. The employer, Legend Directional Services LLC, was cited by OSHA for failing to train employees on hazards associated with flammable chemicals. The company is facing a $28,455 fine.

Scaffold violations were the third most common violation found by OSHA inspectors. 3,336 companies were cited over the last year for unsafely using scaffolds. The highest proposed fine was $120,320 to Appleton roofing contractor Hector Hernandez. Hernandez employees were neither trained on fall hazards nor provided with fall protection equipment. The contractor also failed to install an extension ladder for safe egress  and failed to provide required ladder jack scaffold components.

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From 2008 to 2016 the rate of  fatal construction accidents at small construction employers in the US grew by 57% while during the same period it decreased by 30% at construction companies employing more than 20 employees. 37% of the construction workforce is hired by small contractors but they account for 67.2% of all fatalities according to a recent report published by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

The construction industry in the US is mostly made of small businesses with 1 to 9 employees. According to 2016 statistics, 82% of payroll establishments in the construction industry had fewer than 10 employees and 9% had between 10 and 19 employees. Which means only 9% of employers are big companies. Big companies usually have better health and safety programs than small construction companies that sometimes struggle with increased competition and  have limited resources.

The major causes of fatalities in the construction industry continue to be what OSHA calls the “Construction Focus Four”: