Look around any construction site, and you are likely to see workers wearing protective gear, restricted areas and numerous warning signs. This is because construction sites are dangerous. And unfortunately, the potential for these risks only escalates as projects get bigger and more complex.
In New York, several megaprojects are happening at just about any given time. These large construction sites pose countless risks to workers due to the following factors:
- More parties involved – When a contractor works with a couple of subcontractors, it can be easier to supervise the workers and ensure they have proper training and adhere to safety protocols. When there are numerous subcontractors, sub-tiers and thousands of people working, it can be much more challenging to oversee everyone, coordinate the work among the different trades, and know whether each party is safe.
- Multiple projects happening simultaneously – When several jobs are happening at the same time, workers can find it more difficult to take the proper steps to stay safe. For example, equipment necessary for one job may create hazardous obstacles for another that can either cause delays or require workers to improvise.
- Financial incentives to move quickly – When projects are substantial, there is typically a lot at stake financially. And too often, those in charge prioritize profits over people. In other words, developers or contractors might take shortcuts or allow unsafe practices if they get the job done faster, even when they are dangerous.
- Confusion amongst workers – Workers can know precisely what they are doing and still deal with considerable confusion on massive job sites. Everything from language barriers to questions over who is responsible for addressing a specific hazard can lead to accidents.
Some of these factors are inevitable on massive construction projects; others are entirely preventable. But no matter how big a project might be, inadequate oversight and cutting corners put lives at risk. Even when there is appropriate supervision, coordination and efforts to protect workers, serious construction accidents still happen on large-scale projects.
Thus, it is crucial for workers to understand their rights to consult an attorney and pursue legal and financial remedies if they are injured on the job.