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Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C.

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Why experience and training matter in the construction industry

The men and women who make a living working construction in New York City are well-aware of the dangers and hazards that come with the job. On any given day across the city, a construction worker may be required to descend into a deep trench to lay piping, work atop scaffolding to repair a building's crumbling facade or work in close vicinity to large cranes.

While construction workers in the city are cognizant of the dangers inherent to their jobs, most are trained in how to properly use safety equipment and how to avoid putting both themselves and their fellow-workers in harm's way. 

However, workers often have to depend on others, including the general contractor or construction manager, their employer, or other contractors, for the safety equipment they need; and frequently, workers are required to work under less than ideal conditions. The risks are increased when developers and contractors put profits ahead of safety, and try to cut corners by hiring inexperienced workers and by failing to maintain proper safety protections.

Unfortunately, a recent rise in injuries and deaths among workers at construction sites has raised concerns among many who contend that the use of inexperienced construction workers by certain developers and contractors is putting everyone's safety in jeopardy.

During 2014, the Buildings Department reports that a total of eight people died in "construction-related accidents." During the first six months of this year, that many deaths have already been linked to construction projects throughout the city. While some are quick to reason that the increase in construction accidents and fatalities is attributable to a building boom, it's important to note that 75 percent of fatalities in 2012 occurred at nonunion job sites.

In a recent article in The New York Times, a representative from the Building Trades Employers' Association recently discussed concerns about the growing use of nonunion construction workers. More often than not, these workers lack the training and experience that, at a construction work site, can mean the difference between life and death.

Source: The New York Times, "Fatal Construction Accidents Are Rising in New York," Matt A.V. Chaban, June 2, 2015

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  • $2.1 million settlement

    for 33-year old electrician who fell from ladder while attempting to fit heavy cable into crown box when cable sprung back and struck him, causing him to suffer left shoulder injury with impingement.

  • $1.6 million settlement

    for 38-year old electrician who slipped and fell on debris on stairway with resulting cervical herniated disc and aggravation of pre-existing arthritic changes.

  • $2.55 million settlement

    for 42-year old electrician who fell into an uncovered, unprotected hole and suffered a severe low back injury with herniated disc(s) that required surgery at L4-5 and L5-S1 levels.

  • $1.75 million settlement

    for 26-year old construction worker who fell through opening in roof and fractured his wrist, requiring surgery with open reduction and internal fixation, external fixation device, and eventual fusion.

  • $2.5 million settlement

    for 38-year old female electrician (with history of prior neck injury) who tripped on uneven Masonite protective floor covering, and suffered neck injury with herniated discs requiring cervical fusion.

  • $1.2 million settlement

    during trial for 40-year old sheet metal worker who was struck in the neck and shoulder by an air conditioning unit and suffered herniated cervical discs and cervical radiculopathy.

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