Top Causes of New York Construction Site Accidents

Lever & Ecker, PLLC June 14, 2022 Construction Accidents

The construction industry in New York is once again booming. It is not possible to walk for a few minutes without locating a construction site nearby, especially in New York City. While this is obviously good for the state’s economy, it comes with risks. Construction work is highly dangerous work, and workers are constantly exposed to the risk of accidents and serious injuries, sometimes even resulting in death. 

As the data confirm, the increase in construction work has brought a spike in construction-related accidents and fatalities in NYC. The reasons behind these construction accidents are varied and include unsafe working conditions, poor safety protocols, and violation of New York’s various construction laws and codes. These can lead to falls (which account for upwards of 40% of causes of construction accidents) and other associated incidents, including falling objects and electrocutions.

Frequent Causes of New York Construction Site Accidents

While construction is dubbed the most dangerous work in New York, understanding the causes of accidents is important to reduce them. 

1. Falls

A great percentage of construction work involves working at potentially dangerous heights. Workers generally use scaffolds, ladders, and other equipment to reach these elevations. Some falls are caused by malfunctioning equipment or improper use of the same. Although falls are the main cause of construction site accidents, proper training, safety gear, and other safety measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of falls.

2. Falling Objects and Debris

Despite measures that are supposed to be in place, materials and other debris fall from construction sites with alarming frequency. The higher the height from which objects fall, the more severe the injuries they have the potential to cause. Unfortunately, more than 100 workers lose their lives annually due to injuries caused by falling objects on construction sites.

3. Electrocution

Construction work often involves equipment that runs on electricity. In addition, there may be wires/cables running across the site coupled with improper wiring, which can lead to electrocution. Estimates show that electrocutions account for almost 8% of construction site accidents.

4. Getting Trapped

It is not uncommon for construction workers to get ensnared between two objects or pinned down by heavy materials/equipment. Accounting for about 5% of accidents, trap events may cause severe injuries and even death, especially when a worker gets crushed or compressed by objects before they can be rescued.

5. Slip/Trip-And-Falls

The area around construction sites is not friendly and often leads to trip or slip-and-fall accidents. This is often due to cables, tools, holes/trenches, and uneven ground. Slip or trip-and-fall accidents mostly occur to workers carrying materials or items who are therefore unable to keep a close eye on the route they are taking.

6. Building Materials

Remodeling and building works involve a wide array of raw materials. Unfortunately, if proper gear and protection measures are not taken, the materials may cause injuries to the handlers. Using safety equipment such as hard hats, boots, gloves, and masks may help reduce the likelihood of these accidents.

7. Construction Tools

As technological advances continue to revolutionize every aspect of our lives, the construction industry has not been left behind. Every site has dozens of hand and power tools that help workers accomplish their jobs. While a common belief is that power equipment such as drills, power saws, grinders, etc., cause the most injuries, on construction sites hand tools like hammers, box cutters, and knives cause more injuries.

Efforts to Address Construction Site Injuries

The rise of construction site accidents in New York has prompted lawmakers to enact stricter compliance regulations and higher fines for violations. If you believe that the applicable laws and regulations are not being followed at a site, you can pursue OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspection.

Also, in NYC, Local Law 196, which went into effect on September 1, 2020, stipulates:

  • Higher fines for construction site safety violations
  • Minimum of 40 hours of training for all workers
  • More supervisors at sites

While these and more steps are being taken to attempt to reduce accidents, it is, unfortunately, impossible to prevent them altogether. But when they do happen, workers have the right to get fair compensation. Although you may want to go it alone, a seasoned construction accident attorney will be able to represent you and pursue your rights while you focus on recovering from your injuries. 

New York Construction Site Accident Attorneys

Lever & Ecker, PLLC, is at the forefront of helping construction workers get rightful compensation for construction accidents across New York state. Our award-winning lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience, and we have the resources, information, and tools necessary to develop your case and recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at (914) 288-9191 or (718) 933-3632, or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.