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Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C.

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New health and safety rules as New York construction reopens

This summer, New York City entered Phase One of the state's Reopening Plan after construction shutdowns due to COVID-19. This means that construction work is resuming on sites that have appropriate permits and that follow the Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency published by New York State.

Important guidelines for protecting workers

The state's Department of Buildings has issued safety guidelines for active construction sites, which are meant to protect workers against the spread of COVID-19. Some of the requirements include:

  • Ensure workers remain at least six feet apart whenever possible.
  • Require face masks for any personnel working within six feet of another employee.
  • Tight spaces like elevators may only be occupied by one person at a time, or less than half of the space's maximum capacity if wearing face coverings.
  • Maintain readily accessible hand hygiene stations on site.
  • Maintain a cleaning and disinfection record that must be updated at least daily.
  • Appoint a site safety supervisor to ensure these and other requirements are met.

Will contractors and supervisors prioritize health and safety?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic rocked New York, the city has faced criticism over its rate of serious construction accidents and injuries. Although we would hope that those in charge of job sites would take every step necessary to protect workers from both accidents and infection because it is the right thing to do, far too many owners and operators prioritize their short-term profits over the health and safety of workers.

Workers who have been seriously injured because of unsafe job conditions may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits and/or personal injury damages. If you or someone you love has been affected by an on-the-job injury, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests.

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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.

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    $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.

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    $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.

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    $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.

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    $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.

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    $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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