The number of construction site injuries and fatalities has increased over the past year as the number of construction jobs has also risen.
New York and its cities are no strangers to construction. People who frequent urban areas are likely to see the scaffolding, hard hats and caution tape in and around new and existing buildings. In fact, according to one report, the number of construction jobs in New York City alone has been on an upward trend since 2012.
While that may mean good things for the overall economy, the boom has also been associated with an increase in accidents. What's worse, these incidents have led to more injuries and fatalities among workers.
By the numbers
The Real Deal states that the number of construction jobs in New York City has seen an 8.8 percent increase in a 12-month period leading up to June 2016. However, the sharp rise in construction site injuries - a 62 percent jump - far outweighs those new positions. The article notes that in June 2016, 526 workers suffered a injury related to construction, towering over the 324 people who experienced the same thing a year before.
The numbers stem from the Mayor's Management Report, which was published in September 2016. The report acknowledges that many of the injuries and fatalities that have taken place have been preventable. In fiscal year 2016, 11 people lost their lives in a construction-related accident.
These accidents are clearly problematic. The report from the mayor's office noted that in order to curb these incidents, the Department of Buildings intends to do the following:
- Revoke certain professional licenses from people associated with practices that are deemed unsafe
- Enforce the February 2016 increase in penalties for sites that do not properly safeguard the property and workers
- Providing further oversight on sites that are determined to be high-risk
- Educate workers and industry members on best practices
The report noted that the DOB provides safety-oriented programs as well in multi-lingual platforms.
While the DOB can take a number of steps to prevent construction site accidents, individual workers can also keep themselves safe. For example, they should ensure they have the proper safety gear, such as hard hats, goggles and gloves. Further, workers should not use heavy machinery or specialty equipment without first receiving training.
Construction site workers are often exposed to weather elements, including extreme heat and extreme cold. Companies are expected to look out for their employees, providing breaks and safe spaces to warm up or cool down. Workers who are not treated properly should call attention to the issue immediately in order to avoid an illness or injury.
People who have concerns about this issue should speak with a workers' compensation attorney in New York City.