Fatal construction accidents and workplace safety

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Workers’ safety on construction sites should be an extremely important concern of every construction manager and company. Indeed, the slightest of shifts in safety policies can save many lives that would otherwise be in danger.

Considering that construction workers often do their jobs at great heights, especially in New York City, and their jobs are completed outside, those working construction jobs are exposed to a lot of unusual dangers that office workers would never encounter. Unfortunately, dangers presented by scaffolds, power tools, heavy machinery and cranes are reflected in the high fatality rates associated with the construction industry. Nationally, the construction industry has the fourth-highest mortality rate.

Falls were to blame for 22 of the 38 worker deaths that happened in New York in 2012. Other hazards that caused five deaths each in 2012 in the city included: transportation accidents, fatal contact with equipment and objects and electrocution.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has numerous rules and regulations to which construction sites must adhere. These rules are there to keep workers safe, but not all work sites are free of OSHA safety violations. Unfortunately, numerous workplace safety violations happen that workers put up with simply because they need the job. This a shameful situation because no worker should ever have to put his or her life on the line just to earn a living.

In the state of New York, workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance and they can make a claim for benefits if they suffer an on-the-job injury. However, if it is shown that an employer’s negligence in failing to adhere to OSHA standards led to a workers’ injuries, then the worker may be able to receive personal injury compensation in addition to his or her workers’ compensation benefits in some cases.

Source: New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, “It’s No Accident,” accessed May 13, 2016

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