Keeping Construction Workers Safe Through New York Law

Construction accident prevention and construction safety have become relatively contentious topics in New York. What is controversial about preventing construction accidents and injuries? In short, legislators and safety advocates seek to pass and enforce laws protecting workers, while construction and insurance trade groups have argued that protections such as the Scaffold Safety Law undermine worker safety, according to a recent article in the Gotham Gazette. Should laws that make construction work safer be considered controversial in any scenario?

Construction Accident Statistics After Implementation of Safety Laws and Regulations in New York City

When we look at the statistics, laws that have been passed in New York City that were designed to reduce construction accidents appear to be working, the article suggests. Indeed, analysis conducted by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) reports that construction worker fatalities have declined recently in New York City after the passage of safety regulations. At the same time, however, the NYCOSH data also underscores that the rest of New York State needs to implement similar safety laws in order to reduce fatality rates. While construction accident deaths declined in New York City, they actually rose in other parts of the state where employers are not subject to the same safety requirements.

To be sure, according to the article, the construction fatality rate in New York State in 2017 was “52 percent higher than in New York City.” The article emphasizes that this number is not an outlier but represents a continuing trend. The overall rate of construction accident fatalities in the last five years has increased by 39 percent in New York State, while New York City construction deaths decreased by 23 percent during that same period—largely as a result of new safety regulations.

Need for More Protections Across New York State

While some groups do not believe that construction safety regulations are necessary—and in fact argue that they are detrimental, as we mentioned above—the data suggests that other areas across New York State need to enact safety laws and regulations similar to those currently at work in New York City. Part of the reason for needing local regulations is that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is underfunded and cannot adequately regulate worksites throughout New York State, which involves conducting inspections and enforcing penalties when a company is cited for violations.

In short, New York State needs better safety laws to protection construction workers. At the same time, safety advocates have voiced concerns about the future of the Scaffold Safety Law and underscore how necessary this law has become for preventing worker deaths. An article in EHS Today emphasizes that all construction companies can implement safety solutions, and that the simple integration of wearable technology can improve safety records significantly.

New York law gives a plaintiff three years from the date of a construction site accident to file a claim for compensation. However, if the case is against a City or State entity, only a one year and 90-day time limit to file a claim is allowed. Failure to file a claim within the period set by the statute of limitations can result in the claim being time-barred.

Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney

If you are injured in a construction accident, or if you have questions about filing a claim for a prior accident, an experienced New York construction accident lawyer can assist you. Contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. for more information.