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Arye, Lustig & Sassower Blog

Winter brings additional hazards for construction workers

With New York City's construction boom continuing to change the urban landscape and keep developers in the black, dozens of workers died on the job in 2017. While many construction accidents occur in warmer weather when more workers are outside, winter brings its own set of hazards, not just in the five boroughs. One deadly fall occurred in nearby Philadelphia in late November while another worker was killed north of Pittsburgh while raising traffic poles in late December.

Does the law provide construction workers with special safety protections in colder weather? Are workers properly trained for the complex set of challenges they may face when temperatures drop? What rights do injured workers and their families have when a serious accident has occurred?  While these important questions can't be adequately answered in a blog, here is some food for thought.

Big development (and many worker injuries) in Long Island City

The iconic New York City skyline continues to stretch beyond its traditional Manhattan borders into Brooklyn and Queens. In Long Island City, the East River is becoming home to expensive condos and massive commercial developments, rapidly changing its image as a run-down 20th Century manufacturing hub.

The perennially industrial Long Island City coast is morphing into something quite fancy. Plans for a proposed $3 billion development in Long Island City feature a 70-story luxury tower, according to the New York Times. But development in the area has brought a series of construction accidents, with numerous workers hurt on the job.

Fatal injuries among NYC construction workers: What the stats say

Though New York City is enjoying a construction boom, workers continue to die on job sites throughout the city. According to a 2017 report on the City of New York's website, entitled Fatal Injuries among New York City Construction Workers, construction accidents happen at a rate that has a significant impact on the families of workers.

The research behind the report examined data from 2007 to 2014. During this period, 159 construction workers lost their lives on the job through preventable circumstances. That's an average of about 20 deaths per year. It is important to understand that construction work does not appear to be getting much safer.

NYC construction worker's deadly fall -- WITH a safety harness on

New York City construction workers continue to die because some contractors refuse to follow basic safety rules. This was the case with a 43-year-old worker who fell to his death -- while wearing a safety harness. Sadly, the harness wasn't connected to a safety strap. Providing a worker with a harness is pointless unless a proper anchorage point is available to tie off the harness and the worker is properly instructed to tie off the harness.

According to the New York Post, the worker fell from a platform on the 29th floor of the 1 Seaport residential tower, which is under construction on Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan. Many people look at this type of tragic, preventable death and marvel: Why would a builder disregard such an important guideline -- in this case, a directive to secure the safety of employers working at heights, per New York's important Scaffold Law?

Tragic violence, and new fears, hit a Manhattan construction site

New York City construction workers know that their job can be dangerous and stressful. Serious injuries occur far too often on construction sites. In 2017, several workers lost their lives while doing their jobs.

In the construction industry, fatal workplace violence is less common and perhaps even more shocking than a tragic death from a fall or another accident. A recent shooting has perhaps brought new fears to workers who may already have safety concerns on their minds.

Cranes collapsed as storm raged: are new regs needed?

Images of raging winds and torrential rain filled the news in recent days as we in New York City watched Hurricane Irma pummel Florida. One of the videos that made an especially strong impression was from Miami, where a construction crane spun out of control atop a high-rise.

News reports indicated that two cranes collapsed in Miami, sending debris onto the empty streets below. A crane in nearby Fort Lauderdale also reportedly collapsed during the ferocious storm. For those in the construction industry, the reports were reminders of the several deadly New York City crane collapses in recent years. 

Construction worker expected to recover from being "rolled over"

At first glance, some people might find humor in the story. After all, a construction worker was using a portable toilet on a work site when a dump truck driver "rolled over" him, according to a newspaper report.

All possible humor vanishes, however, when more details of the incident are revealed. The injured construction worker has a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his pelvis and possible internal bleeding. The 28-year-old worker was in just his second day on the job at the billion-dollar Louis Armstrong Airport expansion project in New Orleans.

New York road construction work starting to slow

It happens every year: New York roadway construction picks up in the spring and slows down in fall. Though road work slows down at this time of year, the remaining job sites are just as dangerous as ever for workers and drivers alike.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration says that more than 400,000 people each year are injured in roadway construction zone accidents and more than 800 drivers, passengers and workers are killed in the crashes.

Construction worker hit, killed by 30,000-pound concrete slab

Few things are as tragic and difficult for people to accept as the premature death of a loved one. The sudden and unexpected loss of a dear friend or a family member can shake us to the core.

Those were the emotions rolling through those who gathered recently for the funeral of a 49-year-old construction worker killed in an on-site accident. One of the mourners described the accident victim as an "authentically, genuinely, joyful, kind person."

"Anyone who met him says he was just so kind," said the mourner.

Manhattan construction worker killed; debate over safety law heats up

Few of us have achieved all we wanted to get done, been to all the places we've wanted to visit or acquired all the knowledge we sought by the time we're 22 years old. It is tragic when life is cut short at that age.

New York City media reports that a 22-year-old worker died when he fell down an elevator shaft at a Manhattan construction site. The Yonkers man was working at a 52-story building being erected at 281 Fifth Avenue, officials said. The tower is scheduled for completion in two years, NBC reports.

*AV Preeminent is the highest rating of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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