City's building boom leads to increase in construction accidents

Construction accidents are on the rise in New York, leading to the highest number of fatalities since 2008.

Construction-related fatalities are highest since peak in 2008

New York City is witnessing its biggest building boom in years, and while all that construction is creating many much needed jobs, it is also leading to a dramatic rise in accidents, according to the New York Times. In recent years, deaths and injuries from construction accidents have climbed and are now at their highest levels since the 2008 boom. While the increase in accidents is partly attributable to an overall increased volume in building projects, other factors, including poorly trained labor and a lack of enforcement of safety standards, continue to make some job sites dangerous places for workers.

Accidents increasing

Up until June of this year, New York City witnessed eight construction-related deaths, the same as was recorded for all of last year. This year has also been the deadliest since 2008, when construction was also booming and 19 people were killed. Furthermore, overall accidents are also on the rise. Last year saw 231 such accidents, an increase of 24 percent from 2013. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, according to the Wall Street Journal, there have been 72 construction accidents.

Safety standards

Of course, simply having more construction going on in the city is likely to lead to a rise in accidents. However, all that new construction is also attracting a lot of new workers, some of whom may have little experience in the construction industry and may be unaware of what their legal rights are as regards safety. Additionally, if a work site is being run in an unsafe manner, some workers may be afraid or unwilling to voice their concerns due to fear of reprisals, language barriers or worries about their immigration status.

In one recent case, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported on how an inspector who was concerned about the stability of a trench at a Manhattan building site took two hours to convince the senior superintendent at the site to tell his workers to evacuate the trench. While the superintendent eventually told the men to evacuate, he at first did so only in English. He waited a further 20 minutes before telling them to do so in Spanish. Soon after, the trench collapsed, killing one person. The superintendent, along with one other person, and two construction companies, are currently facing criminal charges related to the accident.

Construction accidents

As construction accidents continue to rise in New York, so too will the number of workers who face serious injuries, lost income and steep medical expenses as a result of those accidents. Almost every such accident is preventable, but unfortunately not all contractors and subcontractors take the necessary steps to protect their workers. For those workers who have been injured in a construction accident, a personal injury attorney can provide some much needed help. By contacting an experienced and dedicated attorney today, injured workers will have the advice and assistance they need to understand what legal options are available and what type of compensation can be pursued.