While workplaces overall have become much safer over the past century, some jobs remain inherently dangerous. The rate of accidents and injuries in these professions is often a good barometer for judging the culture of workplace safety overall. This may be especially true of the construction industry.
Being a construction worker comes with a higher risk of workplace injuries and fatalities, particularly in New York. While construction accidents In NYC and throughout the state have declined over the past decade (in both number and severity), recent data shows that the trend may be reversing.
According to a report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), construction site fatalities statewide increased by 42 percent between 2014 and 2016. Over the same period, construction worker deaths in New York City decreased by 25 percent. This suggests that NYC’s aggressive safety reform efforts have been effective. It also suggests that the rest of the state needs to adopt similar measures.
The NYCOSH report notes that falls accounted for nearly half of all construction site fatalities — a problem that could be effectively addressed by enforcing existing safety rules and laws. Unfortunately, the report shows, OSHA inspections have decreased significantly across the state over the past three decades, and safety violations have likely increased as a result of reduced oversight. When OSHA conducted post-accident inspections at worksites where fatalities occurred, it found that 82 percent of such construction sites contained safety violations.
Although construction work is inherently dangerous, the way that a construction site is managed can make a huge difference in worker safety. If you work in construction and notice a preventable hazard, please don’t be afraid to speak out. And if you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your rights and compensation options.