Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. All too often, workers are seriously injured or killed, and sometimes innocent bystanders are hurt or lose their lives because of construction accidents — right here in New York City.
Safety experts (and workers themselves, who understand the job better than anyone) chalk up many accidents to workplace safety problems, which are ultimately the responsibility of employers. Unfortunately, workers may be blamed for accidents, too. The New York Times reported that this was the case with the horrific, wind-related crane accident in lower Manhattan on February 5, 2016.
What can be done to prevent accidents?
That notorious, fatal crane accident led, rightly, to enhanced safety rules. After a 38-year-old man was killed while walking to work when a 565-foot crane fell onto Worth Street, crane-use restrictions (based on wind speed) were put in place.
But sadly, months later, those wind-speed restrictions were scaled back. Some workers and concerned citizens see that as a serious problem, especially because another fatal crane accident (in Queens) in November 2016 may have been caused by windy conditions.
Who will take the worker’s side?
Some construction workers risk their lives contributing to incredible projects that make the city more beautiful, livable and functional. Those workers need advocates when the unthinkable happens.
It is hard to imagine that workers would knowingly cut corners on safety on a job site if they truly believed that safety — not profits — were the top priority of their employer and the owners and contractors controlling the job site. And it is hard to believe that any workers would put their lives and their coworkers’ lives at risk unless they felt pressured to do so.
If you or someone you love was involved in a construction accident, get legal advice right away. Talk to an experienced attorney about your rights, which need to be protected.