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Construction accidents up, safety enforcement down in New York

It might seem like there is always a construction project going on in New York City. With so many reconstruction, demolition and remodeling projects happening throughout the area, safety should be a top priority. Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that this is not the case. In fact, construction accidents in New York have jumped more than 30 percent between 2011 and 2012. This increase in accidents has also resulted in 46 percent more injuries during the same time period.

Not only have there been more accidents on the jobsites, more people are getting injured due to unsafe practices and insufficient safety oversight. Instead of increasing employee safety and preventing accidents from ever occurring, inspections have been cut back and site managers are expected to regulate themselves.

Unfortunately, many of these site managers get so focused on profits that they cut corners when it comes to protecting their workers. In addition to this, contractors are being fined less often for negligence and unsafe practices. Between having fewer inspections and smaller fines for violations, contractors have less motivation to stay in compliance with federal and state safety requirements.

This means that more people are working with unsafe equipment in dangerous areas with little assurance that they will be protected in an accident. Construction sites are already loaded with hazards that present a danger to those nearby. Workers have to contend with the risks associated with heights, powerful machinery and temporary structures every day and should be able to expect that they will be as safe as possible. In the end, it is the workers on the jobsite who ultimately suffer the consequences of negligence and unsafe practices.

Source: New York Daily News, "Jobsite accidents in New York City jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012, while injuries up 46% in same period," Greg B. Smith, Jan. 13, 2013

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