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New York Construction Accident and Injury Statistics in 2018

Construction Worker Falling from Ladder

There’s no way around it. Working in the New York City construction industry is a dangerous occupation. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers make up only five percent of the city’s total workforce yet account for 27% of job-related deaths. Construction workers frequently find themselves working on heights and with heavy and powerful equipment, and often at new and unfamiliar job sites. NYC is in the middle of a construction boom, and skilled construction workers are in great demand (and short supply). One would think New York City construction accidents would be on the rise due to these factors, but strong and active enforcement of safety regulations seem to be working, and construction worker deaths in the Big Apple have actually seen a downward trend most recently. Still, the main causes of construction accidents remain the same from year to year, with falls from heights leading the way as the greatest risk facing New York construction workers. Read on to learn more about the construction accidents and injuries in New York for 2018.

Falls lead construction accidents nationwide

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that over 20% of worker fatalities occur in construction. Among these, four categories of accidents account for far more than half of all construction worker deaths. These “Fatal Four,” as OSHA calls them, are:

  • Falls
  • Struck by Object
  • Electrocutions
  • Caught-in/Between

Falls are by a large measure the most common of the four, accounting for well over a third of all construction accidents. The other three categories in the Fatal Four each make up between five and ten percent of all construction accidents. The “caught-in/between” category includes workers killed when caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, as well as those struck, caught or crushed in a collapsing structure, equipment or material. Scaffold collapses and trench collapses would fall into this category.

Construction accidents in New York for the most part mirror the national statistics

The 2018 annual report on construction fatalities in New York State by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH) found an alarming increase in the number and rate of fatalities in New York state, including a record-breaking 71 construction workers killed on the job in 2016. Rampant safety violations and lack of enforcement appear to be to blame. In contrast, New York City construction fatalities dropped significantly during that period, attributed to the effectiveness of local enforcement strategies.

Not surprisingly, OSHA’s “Fatal Four” lead the way in New York construction accidents, accounting for 85% of all worker fatalities in New York State and 69% of deaths in New York City. As with the national statistics, falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities in New York City and statewide, although falls are responsible for far more deaths in New York than the national average. Here, falls accounted for 48% of all construction fatalities statewide over the past ten years, and 46% of construction worker deaths in New York City.

A recent report from NYC Health notes that New York City construction death rates have declined over the past twenty years yet remain five times higher than other industries. The report also notes that NYC construction fatality rates are historically higher than national statistics, although across all industries NYC workers are safer than the average American worker. The most startling fact pointed out by the report was just how many of these deaths were completely preventable. In the case of falls, for instance, failure to provide training, fall protection or complying with scaffold and ladder safety standards are frequently cited for violations. Contractors and property owners are required by law to provide a safe environment with adequate protection for their workers, and they can be held liable for the damages caused when they don’t.

For legal help after a construction accident in New York City, call the Manhattan offices of New York construction accident attorney Leandros A. Vrionedes for a free consultation at 212-889-9362, with additional offices in Queens at 718-777-5895.

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