A recently-passed New York City law will require contractors to retain construction superintendents for all major building projects over three stories. According to news reports, this is among the 14 pieces of legislation signed into law May 10 by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many of these new laws are related to construction safety and construction crane usage.
Laws to Strengthen Worker Safety
Mayor de Blasio pointed to another measure that requires every injury and every death on a construction site to be counted regardless of whether a violation has occurred. Whether the injured or deceased is a construction worker or a member of the public, everyone must be counted, he said. By doing so, de Blasio said, officials will get a better idea of who is getting injured, where and why, so the city can come up with a better plan to make construction activity safer.
One of the bills requires the New York City Department of Buildings to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about violations that may endanger worker safety. Yet another law (Intro. 1446-A) requires Class-B hoisting machine operators to get a license rating to use certain cranes while Intro. 1421-A mandates that certain cranes should have GPS or other locating devices so DOB can be notified when these cranes are moved on or off a worksite. These laws will apply to all construction sites regardless of whether the workers are part of a union.
An investigation by Crain’s New York last year showed that six out of the 17 construction accident deaths in New York City in 2015 did not even make it to the city’s official tally of construction fatalities for that year. That is because the New York City Department of Buildings, which regulates construction activity, only tracks deaths that involve violations of the city’s construction code. The agency counted 12 deaths in 2015 including that of a woman hit on the head while walking down the street next to a construction site. In that case, a violation was issued for failure to safeguard the property.
New York City has also seen a troubling surge in construction accidents recently. The de Blasio administration said last year that the number of construction accidents hit 500 in fiscal year 2016 compared to 314 the previous year, which is a 59 percent increase and a more than 200 percent increase compared to 2012. The city counted 11 people who died on construction sites in 2015, up from eight the previous years and four in 2011.
Reports also state that many of the construction site fatalities and injury accidents that occurred last year were avoidable and may have been prevented just with basic safety measures. Having construction superintendents on all projects over three stories will hopefully help prevent falls and other serious construction accidents. According to OSHA, the most common causes of construction accident fatalities include falls, electrocution, struck-by and caught-in/between incidents.
Protecting Workers’ Rights
The consequences of a construction accident injury can be devastating not just for the individual workers, but also their families. Injured workers often find themselves unable to work for lengthy periods of time, and often, they are unable to return to work or earn a future livelihood. Studies also show that undocumented workers or immigrant workers suffer a disproportionately high number of construction accident injuries in New York City. Whether you are a documented or undocumented immigrant, please remember that you do have legal rights if you have been injured in a construction accident.
Workers who are injured on the job can seek workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, they may also be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer or a co-employee, who may have caused or contributed to the worker’s injury. This allows victims and families to have two sources of compensation available for their losses. Examples of third parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, property owners, property managers etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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