Construction-related injuries and accidents in New York City increased in 2013, according to the Department of Buildings Acting Commissioner, Thomas Fariello. Even though the report showed that overall fatalities decreased, the rise in injuries and accidents is a troubling statistic.
Construction-related accidents rose 5.7% in 2013 and injuries
increased by 4.3%, the statistics show.
While the Department of Buildings contends that the numbers increased because of more accurate accident reporting resulting from the city’s recent outreach campaigns to construction industry leaders, construction activity also increased last year. An increase in building activity creates more chances for accidents. The number of new building permits increased from 1,462 in 2012 to 1,890 in 2013, a 29.3 percent increase.
An increase in reporting is not the same as an improvement in safety. Reporting injuries is the first step to bringing awareness and accountability to these issues. Before we start seeing a drop in the number of overall injuries and accidents in construction, general contractors and subcontractors must be more focused on maintaining safe worksites. They must meet all safety codes and abide by all laws. They should also keep and maintain the most up-to-date safety equipment to protect workers’ lives and limbs and train them to use the equipment.
In April, building inspectors performed follow-up inspections on 129 active construction projects that performed poorly a year ago. Two thirds of the sites were found to be in full compliance with safety standards. But inspectors also issued 12 partial stop work orders and 14 full stop work orders where there were imminent threats to construction workers.
Invariably, some employers try to cut corners and fail to follow safety regulations, exposing New York construction workers to serious risk of injuries, accidents and fatalities. That is when finding the right construction accident attorney is a must to understand your legal rights and options, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
In 2012, almost 20% of all workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry, more than any other sector. This is not surprising since construction jobs involve high-risk activities, which is why workplace safety and education is critical to protecting employees and ensuring employer compliance.
New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) believes that it has made many efforts since 2008 to increase workplace safety, including passing new safety laws, creating specialized enforcement units, adding more inspectors and conducting more “oversight of high-risk construction operations.” The city also has been promoting a safety awareness campaign called “Experience Is Not Enough” and attributes its successes in workplace safety to its increased outreach to businesses and workers.
The four leading causes of construction fatalities, the “Fatal Four” as they have become known, are responsible for causing over half of all deaths in the construction business (54.2% overall). They are:
OSHA has estimated that preventing the fatal four would save 437 construction workers’ lives in the United States annually.
Sources: New York City Buildings