Construction workers who are hurt on-the-job have legal protections available to them and should consult with a New York workers’ compensation law firm. Unfortunately, a substantial number of construction workers have been getting hurt in recent years, with some even suffering fatal injuries.
An increase in construction in New York has helped to contribute to the rising risk of construction workers being hurt or killed. More building, however, should not lead to more life-changing or serious injuries if there are proper safety protocols in place and if those protocols are actually followed.
In light of the high number of injuries that have occurred on New York construction sites recently, there are many calls to make legal and regulatory changes to make construction workers safer. Construction Dive reported on efforts to improve construction site safety within New York.
Improving Construction Site Safety in New York
According to Construction Dive, the New York City Council Speaker and 17 other council members have indicated they will push forward with efforts to enhance safety regulations. The council will be conducting oversight hearings in order to make decisions on what new safety rules should be passed and what regulatory changes are appropriate to help reduce the number of fatal work injuries on NY construction sites.
Around 433 separate accidents occurred on constructions sites in NY City in 2015, causing an estimated 471 injuries. This is double the number of people hurt on construction sites just one year prior in 2014. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also reported 17 deaths among workers in 2015 related to accidents on construction sites. The injury and fatality numbers were both trending upward due to building booms.
One issue of concern during the building boom that is causing so many problems is the fact that accurate data is not even being collected to understand the scope of the problem. While OSHA identified 17 deaths, the New York Department of Buildings (DOB) only identified six fatalities because DOB only investigates and records injuries and deaths that are connected to building code violations. This means that the Department of Buildings only records about a third of the actual incidents that occur.
As part of the Council’s reforms, the process used by DOB to obtain and report workplace safety data could change. Union officials are also encouraging a modification to reporting requirements to ensure records are kept regarding whether injuries or fatalities happen at non-union or union worksites. Unions want this change because they believe that unionized worksites are safer than construction sites where work is performed by non-union professionals. It remains to be seen whether this reform, or other possible changes, are adopted to protect workers and to better understand workplace safety risks.
Unfortunately, even if rules do change to try to improve safety on construction sites, injuries and fatalities are likely to still happen because construction work has many inherent dangers.
If you get hurt or someone you love is killed doing construction work, workers’ comp benefits should be available regardless of whether the employer was following safety rules or not. RMFW can provide assistance with taking appropriate action to get benefits following a construction-site injury or fatality. Contact us today.