The Truth About New York State Construction Fatalities

According to the New York Committee for Occupation Safety and Health (NYCOSH), New York State construction fatalities are on the rise. NYCOSH went as far as to say the construction industry in New York is “highly dangerous”. Too many families have lost loved ones on construction sites in situations that were preventable. Often times employers cut corners to save time and resources, knowingly putting their employees at risk. Evidence shows employers routinely violate legal regulations put in place to prevent workers from serious injury and death, yet are regularly exempt from punishment or consequences.

NYCOSH’s report, “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State,” included the following key findings:

·         New York’s construction industry continues to be highly dangerous for workers, with high fatality numbers and high rates of fatalities in New York State. In 2017, the most recent data year available, 69 construction workers died in New York State, exemplifying a five-year trend of increasing fatalities in the State. New York State’s construction fatality rate has increased by 39% in the past five years.

·         In 2017, New York State had a 52% higher construction fatality rate than New York City. Over the past five years, the New York City fatal occupational injury rate in construction decreased by 23%, while the New York State rate increased by 39% over the same period of time.

·         Fatal falls continue to be the top cause of construction fatalities in both New York State and New York City. In all of New York State in the past ten years, 187 workers died in falls, which account for 49% of all construction fatalities. In New York City alone, over the past ten years, 78 workers died due to falls, which on average accounted for 46% of all construction deaths and 55% of construction deaths in 2017.

NYCOSH provided a set of recommendations intended to prevent future construction worker fatalities. The list includes solutions designed to address the situations that repeatedly result in serious injuries and fatalities, including dangerous scaffolds. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the vast majority of scaffold injuries are completely preventable. “72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards”- Osha.

NYCOSH’s list of recommendations also focuses on criminal contractors. NYCOSH recommends expanding criminal prosecutions of contractors statewide and using existing city power to suspend or revoke licenses and construction permits for criminal contractors. To view the full list of recommendations click here.

Every day construction workers report to job sites throughout the State. These hardworking individuals should have safe work environments and they should report to contractors who put their safety first, but all too often that’s not the case. If you or a loved one were hurt on a construction site in New York State contact us today. Our dedicated group of injury lawyers have collected millions in compensation for injured construction workers and their families.

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP