In this blog, we frequently discuss the many dangers that construction workers in New York City face on a daily basis. Among the most serious and prevalent dangers posed to construction workers are those associated with working atop scaffolding structures. Due to the fact that the vast majority of New York City's buildings are above two stories tall, scaffolding is frequently used by construction crews to carryout projects that require demolition, repair, erection, painting and cleaning.
The United States Department of Labor is clear on its Occupational Safety and Health Administration website: "Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry." Some New York City families of deceased construction workers know this truth all too well.
Falls are a leading cause of death among construction workers. That's a major reason why the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires safeguards against falls. These safeguards can protect workers from head injuries, spine injuries and other serious and potentially fatal injuries from falls at construction sites, but only when employers supply them and workers use them. Recently, OSHA proposed $272,720 in fines against four contractors for safety hazards that included failing to provide protection against falls.
After a construction accident, it's expected that employees will have workers' compensation benefits and that government agencies will investigate. But as one recent ladder accident shows, that's not always the case. Whether a worker is an employee and whether government agencies can get involved depends on the circumstances of the accident.
Scaffolds are a necessity at many construction sites in New York and other cities. Although they are common, they pose dangers from falls, scaffolding collapses and other mishaps. For that reason, a web of state and federal laws and regulations govern the construction and use of scaffolds. Despite these regulations, workers are still killed in construction accidents.
Window washers' lives may depend on the safety of their scaffolds. As workers clean windows many stories above street level, properly manufactured and maintained scaffolds are critical for their safety. Recently, two maintenance workers who were on the scaffolding saw firsthand what can happen when it fails. Fortunately, the workers were not injured during a dramatic rescue that transfixed onlookers. The scaffolding accident shows the dangers that window washers and others in the service business face.
Scaffolds can be dangerous enough for construction workers. Falls and other scaffolding accidents are frequent causes of construction worker injury and death, but scaffolds pose other dangers. One recent car accident that sent two drivers to the hospital involved scaffolding.
People across New York know how congested the roads can get. When the traffic on the roads combines with the seemingly endless construction that is often going on, pedestrians and motorists can get overwhelmed by all the activity and may not be able to avoid dangerous situations. Scaffolding that is generally erected outside of buildings under construction can take over sidewalks, making it very difficult for pedestrians to get around safely.
Working on a construction job comes with a fair share of hazards and frustration. Whether a person is working on a home project or on a large construction site, the risks of getting injured can be very real. Powerful tools and heights often create dangerous conditions so it is imperative that people are working with safe products free from defects. One of the most common tools that people work with on a jobsite is a ladder. Unfortunately, ladders are also a common cause of serious falls and accidents.
Working in construction can mean that a person will have to work in dangerous conditions or at high heights on temporary structures. Even though it is quite common for construction workers to be in such hazardous environments, they should be able to expect that they will be safe on a site and that proper safety precautions have been taken by their employers and third parties who are also involved in a project. If any of these people neglect this responsibility, a worker can be seriously injured or killed.
$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.