Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

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.

While the number reflects a wide range of potential incidents, it is clear that accidents remain a problem. In 2013, 212 injuries were reported, a number that has increased by 500 in a five-year period. Day laborers are often at particular risk on construction sites; they often have little specific training or oversight. However, the law requires all workers, including day laborers, to have at least 30 hours of safety training and carry a card certifying their results.

Serious construction injuries could lead to mounting medical bills and even permanent disabilities that keep people out of a job. A workers' compensation lawyer can work with injured construction workers to protect their rights and seek compensation for their damages, especially as a result of safety violations.

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