New York City continues to experience a building boom, with many large construction projects continuing to move forward through the weather-challenged months of January, February and March. This puts workers at increased risk of certain injuries.
Falls are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury among New York workers, especially in the construction industry. Icy, wet and snowy surfaces can exacerbate the already-present danger of work at high elevation.
The responsibility for worker safety
It is a given that workers try to stay safe at all times, knowing that their very lives are at stake. To ensure worker safety in winter, these are some of the responsibilities that project owners and contractors must take with the utmost seriousness:
- Protecting workers from dangerous surfaces: Some falls can be avoided by making sure that the risk of slipping is minimized. This involves many factors, including proper snow and ice removal, appropriate footwear, clear work spaces and more.
- Using fall-prevention gear: Safety harnesses and other equipment must always be properly hooked up, not just worn, for every worker.
- Taking wind seriously: Precipitation and moisture are just one part of the problem in winter. High winds have caused or contributed to a number of publicized NYC construction accidents in recent years. Employers must err on the side of caution and not take unnecessary risks with regard to wind speeds, which can vacillate on certain days.
- Providing weather-specific training: Workers must be fully trained with regard to the prevailing weather conditions.
Why do I need a lawsuit if I have workers' comp?
Some workers and their families are under the impression that workers' comp will provide everything they need after a serious accident. In many situations, that's simply not true.
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a construction accident in New York, you owe it to yourself to talk to an experienced attorney, as soon as possible, to protect your rights. You may have the basis for a third-party injury claim (a "lawsuit"), which is entirely different from a workers' compensation claim. In general, construction accident attorneys offer a free, confidential consultation.