The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has announced five new construction safety bills and comprehensive updates to the city’s construction safety codes. According to a news report in Real Estate Weekly, the bills were introduced by the City Council. DOB officials believe they will protect construction workers who face the risk of serious injury or death on the job because of unsafe conditions at worksites. Many of these measures aim to prevent New York City construction accidents that result in major injuries or deaths.
Measures Included in Safety Bills
Here are the five construction safety bills the DOB proposes:
Licensing general contractors: This bill requires all general contractors to be licensed by the DOB, which means they must demonstrate their experience working in the construction industry, receive site safety training and be responsible for the work they perform under their permits. It also allows DOB to take disciplinary action against general contractors including, if necessary, suspending or revoking their license.
License for major construction sites: This bill drops the threshold to require full-time, DOB-licensed site safety coordinators to seven stories and above. It also requires contractors to submit site safety plans to the DOB for review and approval before work on major projects in the seven- to nine-story range can commence.
Construction superintendents: DOB-licensed construction superintendents would be required to serve full-time at major construction projects seven stories and above. This individual will assume responsibility for site safety and overall management of the construction project.
Cold-formed steel construction: This bill builds on a 2019 Buildings Bulletin creating new safety requirements for special inspectors, construction superintendents, design professionals and others who are performing cold-formed steel light-frame construction work in the city. This is aimed at preventing the overloading and improper installation of cold-formed steel, which have previously resulted in injuries and fatalities at New York construction sites.
Stand-off brackets: This bill also builds on a 2019 Buildings Bulletin that prohibited the use of stand-off brackets for C-hook suspended scaffold installations, by making that prohibition permanent.
Rights of Workers
Construction accident injuries can be debilitating and sometimes, even catastrophic. Some of the common types of injuries sustained in construction accidents include, but are not limited to, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, broken bones, internal organ injuries, limb amputations, etc. Workers may need emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation to recover from their injuries. Sometimes, they may not be able to recover completely from their injuries and may lose their ability to earn a livelihood in the construction industry. This can be not only emotionally traumatic for victims, but also financially devastating for their families.
Workers should be provided job training and safety training in a language they can understand. In addition, workers should be provided with safety devices such as hard hats, safety goggles, steel-toed boots, face shields, fall safety devices (harnesses, safety nets, etc.) so they can do their jobs safely.
Workers who have been injured in a construction accident can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and thus have two sources of compensation.
Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. In cases where a worker dies from injuries suffered on the job, surviving family members may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation and/or file a wrongful death claim against a third party.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related 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. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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 and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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