Lever & Ecker, PLLC January 13, 2016 Construction Accidents
The New York City Department of Buildings has released a year end report regarding the number of construction related accidents and injuries in 2015. What they found is that the numbers have almost doubled.
Despite the hard work of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other organizations designed to protect construction workers on the job, the report showed that the number of construction accidents in 2015 increased by nearly 40%.
In 2014, 231 accidents were reported. Keep in mind this is just the number of accidents – each accident may involve multiple people, all of whom may have been injured. There were a total of 323 construction accidents in 2015. As for injuries – that number increased from 246 in 2014 to 356 in 2015 – a 45% increase.
Reported accidents include:
Not only is electricity used to power most of the tools on a construction site, most jobs require the installation of electrical wiring and boxes. Unfortunately, the body is an excellent conductor of electricity. If the power isn’t cut to a live wire and someone touches that power source, they can easily become electrocuted. Electrocution can cause cardiac arrest, burns, and damage internal organs.
Companies that own, sell, and rent cranes out to construction companies are required to present these heavy machines for frequent inspection and repair – and for good reason. If a crane malfunctions or breaks, the damage it can cause be extensive and cost anyone in the immediate vicinity their lives. One company faced the consequences of failing to properly maintain their equipment when a jury awarded the families of two victims $96 million after a crane accident.
Scaffolding is used by almost 40% of all construction workers. It doesn’t matter if it is suspended or supported scaffolding, OSHA has set a list of safety standards which dictates how scaffolding should be use, the maximum allowable weight on each structure, the maximum allowable spacing between boards, and the minimum height of guardrails.
Employees on construction sites are surrounded by tools, unsteady flooring, extension cords, and other hazards. It’s easy to trip and fall over any of these inanimate objects during work. Even if the fall is only a few feet, serious injuries can be sustained by the victim.
There is a simple explanation as to why the number of construction accidents has drastically increased over the last twelve months: those responsible for maintaining a safe work environment are cutting corners and are attempting to save themselves time and money, regardless of the danger they are placing others in.
There any number of parties that can be held liable for the accidents that occur on construction sites. This may include the property owner, contractor, subcontractor, architect, manager of the site, and even the manufacturers and designers of defective equipment.
Over and over, our firm has represented clients whose injuries could have been easily prevented had the correct safety measures been taken.
When an accident occurs and negligence is suspected, the New York City Department of Buildings and OSHA may be asked to investigate. If, during the course of their investigation, it is discovered that a negligent act or decision was the cause of the accident, the party responsible may face citations and fines.
Victims also have the right to pursue legal action against the person or entity who was responsible for their accident and injuries. By filing a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has the opportunity to recover compensation for monetary losses associated with medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-monetary compensation for pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
If the victim was killed in the accident, their family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. By doing so, they may be able to regain compensation for the financial and emotional support that the deceased would have offered during their lifetime. It can also give the plaintiffs a sense of justice, knowing that the responsible party was held liable and made to pay for their choices.