Workplace deaths in New York City rose dramatically in 2017, according to a recently released report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 87 workplace fatalities from a variety of industries throughout the city’s five boroughs in 2017, up by 31 from the previous year, when there were 56 deaths.
Unfortunately for workers in construction, the industry once again had the unenviable position of being the most dangerous place for workers, leading the way over all other industries in worksite deaths. Twenty workers died on the job in 2017, the BLS data shows, with building construction accounting for 55 percent of the deaths in the industry.
Construction Worker Injuries Rising
Although deaths in the city’s construction industry remained about the same as the previous year, when, sadly, 21 people lost their lives in 2016, the numbers of accidents and injuries have jumped significantly higher. Data from the New York City Department of Buildings shows that 761 workers were injured at construction sites in 2018. This number is an increase of 13 percent from 2017, when 671 injuries were reported.
A couple of years ago, in response to the number of fatalities and injuries that plague the construction industry here, the New York City Council unanimously passed a bill to institute more safety training. The bill included a mandatory 40 hours of safety training for construction workers, done in increments, and to be completed by September 2020. Prior to the new law, construction workers on the city’s job sites were required by law to have only 10 hours of safety training, although unions may require their workers to have more hours. Whether the increased training hours will improve safety in construction is still to be seen.
What Causes Accidents?
What are the top causes of construction site accidents, injuries and deaths? Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, nationwide, the top four causes of construction worker fatalities, often called the “fatal four” by occupational safety experts, are:
- Being struck by an object
- Getting caught in or between equipment.
These four dangers accounted for nearly 60 percent of construction worker deaths throughout the country in 2017. Indeed, in New York City’s construction industry, recent tragic deaths in 2018 included a worker who was crushed by an overloaded forklift on the site of a six-story building project, a worker who died when part of a building’s façade he was repairing fell and struck him, and two workers on different building sites who fell from heights on the same day.
One death on a construction site is one too many. Construction workers should not have to go to work each day wondering whether they will make it home or will be injured and lose their livelihoods. Workers who are injured because of poor training, unsafe conditions, a lack of safety equipment, sites that were not up to code and other reasons may be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation and may be entitled to additional compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident or a loved one has been killed, the qualified professionals at Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to assist you. Our attorneys are available for you to contact 24/7.