Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

New York City sees construction deaths, injuries skyrocket

As of April, 16 construction workers have died in the city of New York in 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the city sees more deaths in construction than in any other industry. The number of worksite deaths has gone up 33% in the past five years. Even more startling, the number of injuries has gone up 221% in the same period.

April alone saw three deaths, including one worker who was crushed by a crane and another who was killed by falling debris. Analysts say that the pressure of deadlines can lead many to cut corners. Contractors who underbid a job try to save money through cheap, inexperienced labor.

The presence of older infrastructure is another issue that any large city must contend with. Non-compliance with safety regulations is also widespread. Of the 45,000 or so active construction sites in New York City, a quarter are not in compliance. Representatives of the Department of Buildings have said that 90 inspectors are currently out in the city checking around 5,000 sites for compliance.

By 2020, the Department of Buildings will require workers to undergo 40 hours of safety training. Currently, 10 hours are required. However, some utilize counterfeit training cards. These result in a $5,000 fine for the worker's employer, the contractor and the property owner.

In some workplace injury cases, employees followed the rules but employers did not. If an employer is to blame, there may be good grounds for a construction accident claim. A victim may be reimbursed for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If the accident was fatal, the family of the decedent may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In either situation, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney before taking legal action.

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