constructing sites

Are New York Construction Accidents Increasing?

NTZ Editor

According to statistics from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), construction accidents were higher in 2021 than in 2020.

While final stats for 2022 have not been released, construction worker fatalities, unfortunately, continue at an alarming rate, with the most recent accidents occurring in November. A 36-year-old hard-hat worker plummeted four floors to his death on the Upper West Side of NYC. Another construction worker, age 27, while building a protective sidewalk shed, fell to his death in early November at a downtown Brooklyn construction site.

In addition, in the first five months of 2022, four construction workers were killed in construction accidents in NYC, and 192 workers suffered injuries. The four deaths resulted from falls — all of which are preventable if construction sites have proper safety measures in place.

One worker fell from a 10-story building with the NYC DOB issuing a full stop work order and a violation for failing to safeguard people and property impacted by construction operations. Another worker was on suspended scaffolding and fell 15 feet onto a metal fence. The NYC DOB issued a violation for failing to protect people and property affected by construction operations. While moving plywood formwork in a 17-story residential building, a third construction worker slipped and fell about 20 feet through an elevator hole and landed in the basement. Violations were issued.

The fourth worker fell thirty feet while working on a four-story multiple dwelling and died following severe injuries. Violations were issued for operating without a permit for brick and facade lintel replacement work.

Why NYC Construction Workers Face Such Dangers on the Job, Including Fatal Construction Accidents

Among the high-hazard industries identified by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the construction industry, especially in New York City. This is further confirmed by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When all other occupations are considered, construction sites in NYC consistently rank first in terms of work-related deaths. According to the NYC Department of Buildings, many construction workers work at heights on job sites with scaffolding and equipment, which can result in severe worker injuries and fatalities if not adequately secured.

In addition, part of the problem may be attributed to contractors cutting corners to save money and the high burdens frequently associated with meeting construction deadlines. As so much of the city’s infrastructure is aging, there is a push to replace these structures to meet safety standards. In response, contractors don’t hire enough labor, use low-cost materials, or take training shortcuts to complete the job as cheaply and quickly as possible. Some are not following safety regulations and measures.

Back in 2019, Tim Hogan, who has been the Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement for the NYC Department of Buildings since 2012, told CBS News during an interview that at that time, there were approximately 45,000 active construction sites in New York City, and one-fourth of them are not in compliance with safety regulations!

Most Common Types of NYC Construction Site Accidents

The most common causes of accidents and deaths on New York City construction sites are:

  • Falls from scaffolds, ladders, roofs; and/or lack of fall protection 
  • Struck by falling/non-secure materials or debris
  • Electrocution
  • Trips and falls
  • Injuries from building materials due to lack of protection (such as hard hats, eye protection, etc.) 
  • Caught in or between objects

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Construction Accident?

Workers involved in construction-related accidents should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in representing New York City workers with construction injuries. NYC construction accident lawyers know New York Labor Laws. These Labor Laws are designed to protect workers in the construction industry.

For example, owners, leaseholders, and contractors are held liable under the New York Labor Law 240 (Scaffold Law) for failing to provide proper safety equipment to construction workers performing gravity-related work in the erection, repair, or demolition of a building. This means that under specific circumstances, a construction worker can sue the property owner and general contractor in addition to filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Contact the Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas

The Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas focuses on construction accidents and personal injury lawsuits. We understand the Workers’ Compensation claim process and how to recover compensation for a worker injured on a construction site. We also understand New York Labor Laws and have obtained construction accident settlements for our clients from parties who were at fault.

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Call the Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas. We have helped injured clients recover millions of dollars in judgments and settlements.

Request a Free Consultation