September 11, 2021

The Most Common Construction-Site Accidents in NYC

By Jonathan Damashek

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It seems as if New York City is constantly under construction. From mid-town renovations to the latest skyrise going up, this level of development will lead to some inevitable mishaps. But the number of construction accidents and the injured workers involved is reaching new heights. New York City reported 1,356 construction-related injuries between 2018 and 2019 in 1,311 total construction accidents.

To reduce the number of construction accidents and resulting injuries in NYC, we need to take a closer look at what types of construction accidents are happening and figure out ways to prevent them.

NYC Construction Accidents

Construction workers are at an increased risk for suffering on the job injuries than almost any other profession. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that construction workers make up only 5% of NYC’s total workforce but account for 27% of work-related injury fatalities.

Construction workers must do their job as safely as possible with the appropriate equipment to minimize this risk. Still, some accidents occur more frequently than others.

Here are the most common construction accidents that occur in NYC.

Falls From Scaffolds

Many construction workers in New York are required to work on scaffolds. Falls from these scaffolds continue to be among the most common construction accidents because falls from scaffolding can occur in any number of ways.

OSHA requires that scaffold design and construction conform to standards of use. For instance, each component of the scaffold, and the scaffold as a whole, must be able to support four times the maximum intended load without failing. Each suspension rope must be able to support at least six times its maximum intended load.

In some cases, employees are hurt because they are not maintaining proper safety procedures. But falls can also result from using defective equipment, inadequate training practices, lax inspections, and other negligent acts. In situations like this, an injured employee might pursue a claim against liable third parties, including the contractor, inspector, or scaffold manufacturer.

Falling Objects

Another common accident type that occurs on construction sites in New York City is when falling objects hit individuals. It is not unusual for heavy equipment and materials to fall from ladders, scaffolds, and other elevated heights. When this happens, they can strike the construction workers and passersby if the area is not secured correctly.

Falling objects on construction sites are usually due to dangerous practices such as:

  • Improper stacking of materials or supplies
  • Failure to properly secure a tool or machine
  • Lack of training
  • Incorrect use of equipment
  • Inadequately secured load on a crane, hoist, or boom
  • Too heavy a load
  • Failure to follow safety standards
  • Neglecting to use safety devices to catch objects and debris
  • A structural collapse
  • Lack of warning signs

Falls Off Ladders

Ladder accidents are also prevalent and produce some of the worst construction accident injuries.

However, there are ways to reduce the odds of a ladder accident. First, make sure that the ladder is in good condition and that it can support your weight. If you are unsure of the height or weight capacity, ask your supervisor for assistance or a different ladder.

Then, inspect your ladder to ensure that no steps or rungs are broken or cracked, that all nails and bolts are correctly in place, and that there are no worn braces or missing feet. When using the ladder, make sure that it is on a level, non-slip surface, and fully open.

Do not use a ladder in front of a door. Also, do not carry tools while climbing a ladder, but rather ask the person holding the bottom to hand them to you. Never use the top rung of a ladder, either. This can make it uneven.

As you can see, ladders can be defective or malfunction somehow, and other parties’ negligence could also contribute to ladder accident injuries. Fortunately, Section 240 of the Labor Law provides special protection for workers injured in “gravity-related accidents,” including ladder accidents, so injured workers may have options to consider.

Preventing NYC Construction Accidents

There are several safety measures construction companies and workers can take to minimize risk and reduce the odds of a construction accident.

  • Wear the required protective safety gear (helmet, goggles, hard-toe boots, etc.)
  • Be aware of posted warning signs
  • Stay away from barricaded hazard areas
  • Never walk or stand in the fall zone under a crane, hoist, front loader, or other heavy equipment
  • Do not walk or stand under anything; objects and debris are likely to fall
  • Always use the right equipment
  • Do not stack materials or objects too high
  • Inspect tools and equipment before use
  • Never use faulty or improperly maintained equipment
  • Do not exceed max capacity
  • Secure your tools and equipment properly

These steps will sadly not remove all the hazards in the construction industry. Suppose you or someone you love is severely hurt on a job site. In that case, it is critical to follow the proper notification procedures, document your injuries accurately, seek medical care, and consult a lawyer about workers’ comp benefits or third-party liability when appropriate.

Meet With an NYC Construction Accident Lawyer

Were you or a loved one seriously injured in any NYC construction accidents mentioned? Were you injured in another type of construction accident? If so, you deserve to know your rights and may be entitled to financial compensation.

Contact an experienced NYC construction accident lawyer at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at 212-490-5700 or fill out our contact form. We will reach out to discuss your case.