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Construction Site Accident Risk Factors

Construction sites are one of the most dangerous working environments — according to OSHA statistics, 21.1% of all private industry worker fatalities in 2018 occurred in construction. Since construction involves working from heights, operating heavy machinery, and other hazardous work, there are numerous risk factors construction workers need to be aware of to avoid injury. 

Scaffolding accidents, crane collapses, electrocution, and falls are just a few types of accidents that can occur on construction sites. Many of these incidents can be prevented by employers, contractors, workers, and others taking proper precautions and ensuring that safety protocols are in place to reduce risk.    

Risk Factors Contributing to Construction Site Accidents

Safety risks on construction sites can be reduced by following OSHA and New York State Labor Law regulations. Some common risk factors that can create safety hazards and contribute to construction site accidents include:

  • Failure to provide proper safety gear and equipment
  • Poor communication between workers and supervisors
  • Unstable or damaged scaffolding 
  • Failure to provide fall protection
  • Inadequate training
  • Failure to conduct inspections
  • Grease, water, or other liquid on flooring and other work surfaces

Regular safety training, ensuring that equipment and tools are in good working condition, and maintaining a workplace free from debris are just a few critical steps contractors, workers, and others on job sites can take to avoid accidents on construction sites.

What Laws Protect Workers on New York Construction Sites?

In addition to the federal OSHA regulations, New York Labor Law helps protect construction workers from a wide variety of accidents. Strict liability for a construction worker’s injuries can be imposed on employers if they failed to comply with the applicable codes. 

Under New York Labor Law § 240, an owner, contractor, or other responsible party must provide construction workers with safety gear to prevent height-related accidents. Safety equipment can include scaffolds, ladders, hoists, ropes, pulleys, and other gear to protect from falls or being struck by objects. 

Additionally, New York Labor Law § 241 applies to construction, excavation, and demolition, requiring that workers involved in these types of activities are provided with proper safety and protective gear. Labor Law § 241 can create liability for a labor law violation pursuant to New York Industrial Code Part 23.

Safety Practices Under New York Industrial Code Part 23 

New York Industrial Code Part 23 covers a wide range of activities and the required safety measures that must be taken on construction sites to reduce the risk of accidents. It sets forth regulations for both employers and employees, requiring that employers take reasonable measures to ensure a safe working environment and that workers have a certain level of competency to perform the work necessary.

Industrial Code Part 23 also includes safety provisions concerning illumination, notice and warnings for imminent danger, drinking water and sanitation, electrical hazards, roof work, life nets, the construction of runways and ramps, hand tools, and many other aspects of construction work.  

Can I Sue for Construction Site Accident Injuries?

Although Workers’ Compensation laws generally bar an employee from suing their employer, a construction worker may still be able to pursue a personal injury action to recover for their economic and non-economic damages from a negligent third-party. For example, if a subcontractor, owner, or another responsible party failed to take proper safety measures and their action or inaction caused your injury, they may be held liable. 

Contact a New York Construction Site Accident Attorney

If you are a construction worker who suffered injuries as a result of inadequate training, failure to be provided with proper safety gear, or another workplace safety hazard, you may be able to pursue a personal injury action against a negligent third-party. You may be able to recover unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, time lost from work, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help you obtain the maximum compensation available for your construction accident injuries. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

John P. Dearie

John P. Dearie is a graduate of Regis High School, The University of Notre Dame, and St. John’s University School of Law. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for two years following law school graduation, he joined The Dearie Law Firm in 2011.

John represents injured New Yorkers in third-party negligence litigations, as well as first responders, workers, volunteers and residents in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.