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WTC construction site plagued by safely violations and injuries

For New Yorkers and citizens around the world, the 16 acre site on which the World Trade Center buildings stand is hallowed ground. Since construction began at the site in 2003, the New York Port Authority was under tremendous pressure to ensure the project honored the memories of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and was also completed in a timely manner.

While few would dispute the importance and significance of the site, an investigation shows that the pressures of completing the project may have, at times, trumped the personal safety of construction workers. This assertion is backed by reports detailing a total of 81 injuries that occurred at the construction worksite during the last 11 years.

Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced changes to the agency’s serious injury reporting requirements. Currently, employers are only required to report work injuries to OSHA if three of more employees require hospitalization. Come January 2015, employers will be required to report “all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours.”

Under OSHA’s previous serious injury reporting rules, many of the serious construction injuries and workplace safety violations that occurred at the WTC worksite went unreported. A number of the construction workers who were seriously injured while working at construction site suffered debilitating injuries which have left them unable to work.

Forty-two of the reported 81 injuries involved workers who fell from scaffolding, ladders or other heights. Another 18 construction workers suffered injuries after being struck by falling objects at the construction worksite. Lawsuits filed by many of the injured workers consistently point to safety violations and dangerous working conditions.

In cases where a construction worker is injured at a job site, he or she would be wise document factors that may have contributed to one suffering injuries. In cases where an employer failed to provide proper instruction, training or equipment or failed to follow safety or health regulations; legal action may be appropriate.

Source: New York Daily News, “EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of injuries at World Trade Center construction site went unreported,” Greg B. Smith, Nov. 3, 2014

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