Anyone who has spent time working construction in New York will tell you that accidents happen, even when workers do their best to stay safe. Falls, which are often deadly, can occur on both union and nonunion job sites, but nonunion workers often have less safety training and protection than their union counterparts.
Construction work is dangerous, but sometimes unnecessarily so. Falling objects can present a serious hazard that may be largely preventable.
We have talked in previous posts about the alarming rise of construction-related deaths in New York City. Many of the city's recent fatal accidents have involved falls and falling machinery. There is a painful feeling among workers, workers' families and worker advocates that some of the accidents could have been prevented.
Construction workers are dying in increasing numbers. A recent New York Times opinion piece threw out a shocking number: There were 31 New York City construction fatalities, most of them on nonunion worksites, in the last two years.
As sad as it seems, some fatal construction accidents are preventable. In New York City, there is a long and significant history of catastrophic construction accidents that have one problematic thing in common: windy conditions under which people probably shouldn't have been working in the first place.
When walking around New York City, everywhere you look, signs indicate that the city is in the midst of a building boom. From soaring cranes and towering scaffolding structures to walled off massive construction sites, signs of development and renovation are obvious and hard to ignore. While the local construction industry's prosperity is often regarded as a positive sign of a burgeoning local and national economy, the recent death of a construction worker in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood has again raised concerns about construction safety in the city.
Every season of the year has its own big holidays: summer has the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Autumn is filled with Halloween and Thanksgiving. Winter gives us Christmas, New Year's and the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, while the end of spring is marked by Memorial Day.
It has been 115 years since Henry H. Bliss stepped down from a New York City streetcar and into the pages of history books. The unfortunate man was run over by an electric taxi cab, dying of his injuries the next day.
New York City is dealing with an increased number of pedestrian accidents. In the first two weeks of 2014 alone, seven pedestrians were killed in the city, and one more pedestrian recently died after being struck by a backhoe in Brighton Beach.
Construction sites of all kinds present serious dangers, including construction accidents caused by falls, heavy machinery and weather. It's no wonder, then, that construction-related occupations made up three of the top 10 deadliest jobs in the U.S., according to information released by the Bureau of Labor statistics.
$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.