Contractors and regulators are looking to pinpoint the reason why New York City saw a 34 percent increase in construction-related injuries in the past year. There were 283 such injuries — a steep jump from 211 injuries in 2014 and 187 injuries in each of the two previous years. According to the city Department of Buildings, fatal accidents on construction sites nearly doubled, from six in 2014 to 11 in 2015.
Some blame the rising number of accidents on the massive increase in construction throughout the city. The thinking is that the more building being done, the more workers will be exposed to danger, making accidents more likely.
Regulators, meanwhile, are not convinced. They believe that most of the city’s construction work accidents are the result of a few companies failing to meet codes or follow safety procedures — in short, putting savings above safety. Learning from previous mistakes can help companies protect the lives of their workers. Continuing to cut corners, however, can leave workers at risk of falls, burns, electrocutions and crush injuries. Faulty equipment and poor safety procedures increase these risks.
To help keep workers safe, the Department of Buildings is adding about 100 new workers to inspect and enforce rules at work sites. The department regularly issues violations and orders work stoppages when it finds something wrong, but the agency currently lacks some of the tools it needs to go after problem companies. While there are already many laws and regulations on the books to ensure worker safety, most financial punishments are quite small compared to the size of a construction contract. One possible solution would be preventing companies with repeated safety violations from getting new building permits in the city.
For more information on filing a workers’ compensation claim or pursuing justice after a work accident, meet with a trusted New York construction injury attorney at Rubenstein & Rynecki. Call us at (718) 522-1020 or contact us online to get started.