New York Construction Accident Lawyer Representing Injured Workers in Construction Accident NYC
Workers safety is very important, and all workers when leaving home for work should be able to return home safely. However, for New York construction workers, particularly immigrant and non-union workers, the risks are higher. They are more likely to die on the job than workers in any other economic sector.
Construction workers represent 4% of New York State’s workforce while construction sector represents 20% of all occupational fatalities. Even though New York has the nation’s sixth lowest construction injury rate, the construction occupation remains extremely hazardous.
“The price of Life, 2015 report on construction fatalities in NYC” released by The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), published the following findings.
1) Construction work at an elevation is especially hazardous. Roofing and siding workers take extreme risks to do their everyday jobs. In 2011 and 2012, falls to a lower level comprised 49 percent of construction fatalities in New York. Additionally, 71 percent of construction accidents with injuries reported to the New York City Buildings Department between 2008 and 2013 were height-related — workers who work at an elevation are at an increased risk. Eighty percent of roofing and siding contractor inspections between 2010 and 2012 resulted in violations, compared to two-thirds in all construction inspections. Contractors who violate health and safety regulations are often at fault when an employee is injured or killed.
2) Nonunion employers are the least safe. In 2012, 79 percent of fatal fall construction accidents investigated by OSHA in New York occurred at nonunion construction sites. Ninety percent of construction companies in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) in New York are nonunion. According to OSHA, the SVEP focuses “on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”
3) NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development continues to do business with contractors that have extraordinary high violation rates. Eighty-nine percent of contractors that are currently working on affordable housing projects and are flagged for “enhanced review” by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, had OSHA violations.
4) Construction employers in New York routinely violate OSHA safety standards. Two-thirds of OSHA construction inspections in New York between 2010 and 2012 resulted in citations for “serious” safety violations. Most of the violations were of safety requirements for scaffolds, ladders, and fall protection equipment. OSHA defines a “serious” violation as one which could “cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm.”
5) When a worker dies in a construction site fall, OSHA almost always finds there were safety violations. In 2012, serious violations were cited in 89 percent of the fatal height-related construction accidents OSHA investigated in New York. Violations of safety standards specifically intended to prevent height-related injuries were cited in 68 percent of these fatalities.
6) Immigrant and Latino workers are disproportionately at risk of dying in construction. Latinos made up 25 percent of NYS construction workers, but represented 38 percent of construction fatalities in 2012.4 Additionally, in 60 percent of OSHA fall from elevation fatalities, the worker was immigrant and/or Latino. Risks are associated with nonunion employers, lack of training and language challenges.
7) Construction worker fatalities result in puny penalties for unsafe contractors. Nationally, OSHA inspects fewer than four percent of construction sites. In New York, there are only 71 inspectors to monitor all worksites in all industries, so most construction sites are not inspected. When OSHA does inspect and cites violations, the penalties they asses are so low, they are a mere slap on the wrist, even if a worker died. The average penalty in fatal height-related construction accidents in New York in 2012 was only $7,620.
New York Construction Accidents Attorneys of The Rybak Firm, PLLC., represent people who have been injured in a construction accident. Our experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney, represent and fight for your in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. If you or anyone you know have been injured in a construction accident contact us or call 718-307-5554 (24/7)today for a free consultation.