New York City construction accidents increasing

Accidents at New York City construction sites have been on the rise. Numerous safety standard violations may contribute to the dangers.

There are inherent dangers in every workplace, but the construction trade is widely known as one of America's most dangerous jobs. Construction workers in New York face numerous dangers on jobsites every day, ranging from minor accidents to catastrophes that take lives.

This danger appears to be a significant issue in New York City lately. According to the New York Times, local construction-related accidents and fatalities have been rising. Last year, construction accidents had risen 24 percent from the previous year. There may be numerous reasons for the increase in accidents, including more construction projects in the city; an increase in new and inexperienced workers; and fewer workers performing more work.

Top four deadly construction accidents

Numerous factors commonly contribute to a dangerous workplace in construction, states EHS Today, but four in particular rank as the most deadly. These accident types are known as the "fatal four," and were responsible for 57 percent of construction site deaths across the country in 2012. They include falling, being caught between objects, being electrocuted and being struck by objects. Construction officials believe that eliminating the fatal four would prevent 435 construction deaths every year.

Safety violations contribute to many deaths

Every construction site in the nation is supposed to abide by certain regulations and safety standards to prevent accidents; however, not all employers or workers comply. A number of common workplace violations regularly contribute to construction site accidents, according to Electrical Construction & Maintenance. The most common of these are:

• Scaffolding violations - To prevent workers from being killed or injured in falls, scaffolding structures should be constructed on a stable surface and have all walking areas fully planked.

• Grounding violations - Electrical cables or wires should be de-energized or grounded to prevent electrocution.

• Excavation violations - Trenches and other excavations should be braced or shored to prevent cave-ins, and should also contain escape routes so workers can leave the excavation quickly.

A recent tragic accident highlighted what could happen if trenching safety standards are ignored. EHS Today reported that a 14-foot-deep trench at a New York City construction site collapsed on a worker, burying him almost instantly in tons of earth and debris. The 22-year-old man was killed. Officials from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the employer and the general contractor failed to enforce trench protection measures and did not remove workers from the excavation after safety officials warned them of the danger. Both companies received the maximum fine of $140,000 for willful violation of workplace safety standards, as well as manslaughter charges.

It is not always possible to prevent a workplace accident, but safety standards can greatly reduce a person's risk of being injured or killed on the job. Disregarding these safety rules puts lives in danger. Victims of a workplace accident may contact a personal injury attorney to find out if they are eligible for compensation.