According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 40 deaths related to the construction trade in the United States in 2014. That number is up five percent from 2013, and it is the highest it has been since 2008. The number of construction deaths and accidents throughout the United States is on the rise, but workplace deaths are becoming more common than ever in New York City.
Construction In New York City Is Becoming Dangerous
According to Crains New York, eight of the 40 construction deaths in the United States in 2014 were in New York City. In 2015, New York City saw its number of construction accidents leap to 400, which is up from 237 in 2014. When a construction accident occurs in New York City, people instantly know about it. But it seems that the prevalence of accident exposure has done little to curb the problems that exist in the New York construction industry.
A Matter Of Size
The number of construction permits for 2015 stands at an estimated 155,000, while the number of permits issued in
2014 was 142,480. The problem is that construction revenue has remained flat, which means that the number of smaller projects going on in the city has increased dramatically. It appears that, as the number of smaller projects increase, so does the number of accidents and deaths.
The City of New York is limited on how many construction inspectors it can utilize and the city is unable to keep pace with the number of projects currently in progress. The union shops that run larger projects often hire more safety inspectors than required by city law to try and keep accidents down. The reason is that insurance costs for larger projects will increase if the contractor has a poor safety record. But a contractor with a good safety record can save money on their insurance, and that makes extra inspectors a good investment.
But smaller shops and non-union companies running smaller jobs tend to operate without any extra safety supervision from the city or the companies themselves. These smaller jobs tend to generate the majority of the construction accidents, and that is no coincidence when you consider the lack of safety controls on smaller projects.
Lawsuits Are Part Of The System
New York State labor law 240 is also known as the “Scaffold Law.” This is a law used by families to sue construction companies that utilize scaffolding, but do not take the proper safety precautions to protect employees. The judgments for these types of cases can run into the millions, and the contractors are rarely able to prove their innocence. The families of accident victims are hoping that lawsuits will get the companies to invest more in safety and prevent these fatalities from happening.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself And Your Family
Construction companies in New York City that are negligent in workplace deaths and any kind of construction accident will try to get the family to sign off on a standard settlement. But if there was insufficient inspection personnel at the job site to keep the site safe, then the worker and their family may be entitled to more of a settlement.
Instead of talking to the construction company about your construction accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney and protect your rights. For many construction companies, it is easier to pay a small settlement for the loss of a worker’s finger or foot than it is to face the reality that inspection personnel could have prevented the accident. Instead of settling on something that falls short of what you deserve and what your family needs, you need to get in touch with a personal injury attorney and get the system to work in your favor.