Construction site safety is of utmost importance, yet construction site injuries and fatalities remain a significant concern in New York State. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the leading causes of construction site injuries and fatalities, including falls, struck-by incidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/between incidents. Construction workers are at a higher risk for these types of accidents due to the nature of their work, which often involves working from heights, working near heavy machinery, and working in confined spaces.
In fact, according to the recently released report of the New York City of Buildings on April 15, the number of injuries on New York construction sites increased by 9.7% in 2022 from 2021. This included 554 injuries and 11 fatalities in 2022. More than half of those fatalities are attributed to falls. In its latest effort to combat safety issues on construction sites, the city implemented a construction safety campaign in the winter of 2022 with the purpose of providing information and awareness in avoiding work site falls and other injuries. This safety campaign is continuing into 2023 and involves safety sweeps of construction sites as well as educational outreach.
Over the past few years, New York State has already implemented several measures to improve construction site safety, including the Scaffold Safety Law. The Scaffold Safety Law requires property owners and contractors to provide proper safety equipment and training to workers who work at heights. It also holds them strictly liable for any injuries that occur due to a violation of the law. However, the Scaffold Safety Law has been the subject of controversy and debate, with some arguing that it makes it too easy for workers to file lawsuits.
In addition to the Scaffold Safety Law, New York State has implemented other measures to improve construction site safety. The state has increased the number of site inspections and fines for safety violations, and it has implemented stricter safety regulations for crane and hoist operations. It has also required safety training for all construction workers, including mandatory training for supervisors, and has established a task force to address construction worker safety issues.
Despite these measures, construction site injuries and fatalities continue to occur. Employers and contractors must take proactive steps to ensure that their workers are safe on the job site. This includes providing proper safety equipment and training, enforcing safety regulations, and conducting regular safety inspections. Workers must also take responsibility for their own safety by following safety procedures, using proper equipment, and reporting safety hazards to their supervisors.
Construction site injuries and fatalities have a significant impact on workers and their families, as well as on the construction industry as a whole. The industry must continue to prioritize safety and take steps to reduce the number of accidents and injuries that occur on job sites. By working together, employers, contractors, and workers can create a safer construction environment and prevent needless injuries and fatalities.
Our experienced team of construction defense litigators in the WSHB New York City office stand ready to answer your questions about construction workplace safety and regulations as well as providing assistance in ensuring compliance with all workplace safety issues. Our services include contract preparation, contract and insurance review, risk transfer evaluations, entity formation and work place safety advice and training. We have Rapid Response Teams on call to assist the client with the investigation of the claim, identify key witnesses and preserve material evidence for future litigation. Once construction commences, we are ready to assist with disputes over change orders, contract terms, delays and any issues regarding suits by workers ranging from employment issues and personal injury actions resulting from accidents at the worksite. Our attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies and nuances involving the New York State Labor Law provisions and requirements for site safety in the construction industry. Despite the best risk management and practices, worksite accidents and subsequent personal injuries will still occur. WSHB's experienced team of litigators will be there to protect our clients' interests in the construction industry every step of the way.