Despite improvements in safety equipment and tightening regulations, construction workers continue to suffer injuries on the job. In fact, in New York alone, 71 workers died on construction sites in 2016, up from 50 just two years earlier.
If you work construction, you are aware of the inherent dangers on the job, particularly when it comes to falls. Constructing a building from the foundation up or renovating the upper floors of an older structure means doing your job many feet off the ground. You have to have a great deal of trust in your fellow workers as well as in your employer. Recent reports show that some of that trust may be misplaced.
Employers are often to blame
Almost half of construction site fatalities involve falls. Even if you regularly use personal protection equipment, you may become seriously injured falling from a high surface. You may not be surprised to learn that the recent report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health places much blame on employers. If your employer ignores safety regulations or takes chances with your life to protect the bottom line, your job site may be among the 82 percent with serious safety violations, including many willfully disregarded safety protocols.
Adding to the danger may be the systematic decrease in inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Apparently, OSHA is conducting less than half the construction site inspections that it did 30 years ago. This is likely because there are currently many more construction sites, and it is difficult for inspectors to keep up.
Based on OSHA investigations from fatal accidents, the NYCOSH report urges the following changes:
- A program of training and certification for all construction workers in the state
- Funding for city-wide safety training
- Tougher enforcement of existing safety laws, such as those promoting scaffold safety or holding responsible employers liable for workers’ fatal injuries
- Allowing city officials to suspend or revoke permits and licenses of any contractors whose criminal behavior results in the death or injury of an employee
If you have suffered injuries in a construction accident, you know that most often these accidents are preventable. The sooner you discuss your situation with a legal professional, the faster you can obtain assistance in determining the best way to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.