Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

Garden City Construction Injury Blog

How to maintain safe scaffolding on construction sites

Scaffolding accidents are an especially common occurrence in the construction industry in New York and throughout the nation. They cost U.S. employers about $90 million in lost work days every year. Improper scaffolding practices were the third most prominent OSHA violation in 2016, leading to some 3,900 citations.

Maintaining scaffolding safety is therefore essential. The following is a summary of some OSHA guidelines on the matter. First, scaffolds must be able to carry their own weight as well as four times the max expected load without the risk for settling or displacement. They must have solid footing and not be supported on unstable objects like concrete blocks, boxes and barrels.

NYC construction injuries reach new high in 2018

It has been a dangerous year for New York City construction workers. According to Crain's New York, more than 650 accidents and injuries have occurred on construction sites through October. This outpaces the 2017 totals and are the highest numbers seen since before the recession.

Ladder safety standards in construction

Training in ladder safety can be important for workers in New York. From 1989 to 2005, over 2 million people went to the emergency room because of an accident involving a ladder. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, around two-thirds of ladder accidents are caused by employees who are not adequately trained in ladder safety.

Among the things addressed in ladder safety are where to put the ladder, where to place other equipment and how to maintain and inspect the ladder. OSHA has already issued set standards for how a ladder should be placed, the distance that should be between rungs, the shape of rungs, the rung coating and how far apart the sides should be.

Basic ladder safety tips from OSHA

Ladders can be effective tools when attempting to get work done on a New York job site. However, it is important that they are used safely. In some cases, it may be better to use another tool. Consider using another tool if the ladder cannot be stood on properly or if an individual will need to work at a high elevation for an extended period of time.

It may also be worth using a scissor lift instead if a ladder cannot remain steady while a task is being performed. If it is necessary to use a ladder, OSHA offers a few recommendations as to how a person can do so properly. The ladder should be put on a smooth and level surface and fully extended prior to climbing on it. It should never be placed near a door unless it is locked as there is a chance that it could be opened and the ladder knocked over.

Worker killed in New York construction accident

The family of a 44-year-old man who was killed in a construction accident in New York on Nov. 21 has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. The family members, who were joined at a press conference by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, claim that the man was laboring in conditions so unsafe that crane operators refused to work.

The man lost his life after he was struck by falling debris and pinned under a collapsed metal wall. The man's son, who was working at the Bedford-Stuyvesant construction site along with his brother, says that he pulled debris off his badly injured father immediately after the accident and saw that he was dying. He claims that his father should not have been working on a roof that day due to exceptionally strong winds. Adams says that an investigation is warranted to find out if the construction company knew about the unsafe conditions and the crane operators' refusal to work.

Construction safety law does little to curb accidents

A series of construction accidents in New York City sparked a change in the law and requirements imposed on construction companies. In many cases, the accidents were caused by situations that would have been prevented if proper workplace safety procedures were followed on the site. As a result, the City Council passed a bill that increased the safety training requirements for construction workers on projects in the city. In October 2017, Local Law 196 was signed, but a year later, critics say that it has had little practical implications for construction workers' safety.

Some say that the city is doing little to help workers meet the training requirements and potentially increasing the danger of construction accidents. Even though it has been a year since the law was passed, the city's Buildings Department has said it might delay the deadline further to provide more time for the training requirements. However, many workers are not receiving proper training, and serious accidents continue to occur. In the fiscal year 2017-18, there were 744 construction accidents of varying levels of severity.

Filing a claim after a construction accident

The construction industry poses a wide range of hazards to employees. In New York, workers can be at risk for everything from repetitive motion injuries to electrocution to exposure to dangerous chemicals. OSHA has regulations in place to help prevent such accidents. The agency requires employers to provide safe equipment, remove potential hazards and provide safety training.

However, employers, property managers and contractors may fail to implement these regulations. If such negligence leads to an accident, victims may be able to file a construction injury claim. The initial steps are to receive the proper medical treatment and write to the employer reporting the injury. Keeping a copy of all records is essential.

Some tips for working at height

Brooklyn construction often involves building up as much as it does building out. This forces workers to spend lots of time on scaffolding.

Working at height isn’t something everyone can do. It takes patience and know-how to work safely from great heights. Here are a few things to think about before you get back onto a scaffold:

How marijuana can impact worker safety

New York state is seriously considering legalizing recreational marijuana. If this occurs, it could result in safety concerns for employers in many different industries. In 2016, more than 4,600 people who worked in the private sector died while on the job. Roughly 20 percent of those who died worked in the construction industry according to the Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, employers are worried that those who fail drug tests will need to be sent home.

This could result in a shortage of available workers who can do their job well and with safety in mind. Ultimately, an employer could lose money or face delays in completing a project. If a worker gets into an accident after using marijuana, it could result in an increase in workers' compensation claims. This added cost could compound the problems caused by a lack of productivity from those who may use the substance outside of work.

Scaffolding regulations: an overview

OSHA estimates that 65 percent of construction workers frequently use scaffolding. Scaffolding accidents are all too common and result in some of the most serious injuries in the industry. This is why construction employers will want to make sure they comply with OSHA regulations and know what New York labor laws have to say regarding liability.

OSHA regulations are clear about the design and construction of scaffolds in addition to their capacity. Each scaffold and scaffold component must be able to support its own weight in addition to at least four times the maximum intended load. Suspension ropes must support at least six times the maximum intended load.

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