We Can Even Come to You!

Call Us 24/7:(212) 545-7373

1-800-967-5496 - 1-800-WORK-4-YOU

construction-accident-1The construction industry routinely poses significant hazards to workers – whether they are involved in new construction, remodeling, repair work or other projects. Most construction activity at residential buildings, bridge erection, roadway paving, trenching, demolition, ironworking, steelworking or painting, etc. tends to expose the workers to serious dangers such as falling from scaffolds, ladders or rooftops, getting injured by unguarded machinery, electrocution or getting struck by tools, equipment or debris at the construction site among others.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that sets safety standards for workplaces including construction sites, which see the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the United States each year. OSHA aims to ensure that workers operate in a safe and healthy environment by setting and enforcing standards, by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers are required to comply with all OSHA safety standards that are applicable to their industries. They must also comply with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH), which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious as well as recognized hazards.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident as a result of a safety violation on the part of a construction company, general contractor, sub-contractor, building owner, managing agent, etc., it is important that you understand your legal rights and options.

Construction’s “Fatal Four”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,674 workers died in workplace accidents during the calendar year 2017. Of those 971 or 20.7 percent were in construction. That means one in five worker deaths during the year 2017 was in construction. The leading causes of private sector worker deaths, excluding highway collisions, in the construction industry were falls, followed by struck-by objects, electrocution and caught in/between accidents.

These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (59.9 percent) of all construction deaths in 2017, according to BLS reports. Eliminating these “fatal four” would save 582 workers’ lives in the United States every year not to mention prevent hundreds of severe and/or disabling injuries. In 2017, falls accounted for 39.2 percent of total deaths in construction. Struck-by objects accounted for 8.2 percent, electrocutions 7.3 percent and caught in/between, 5.1 percent.

How OSHA’s Standards Help

Here are some of the areas where OSHA’s safety standards have helped curtail injuries and fatalities at construction sites.

Fall Prevention and Safety

There is no question that falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths, particularly at construction sites. OSHA standards require employers to set up the workplace and prevent employees from falling off scaffolding or walls and into holes.

Construction workers must be provided with fall safety devices such as harnesses, guardrails, toe boards, handrails, etc. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of 4 feet in general industry workplaces, 5 feet in shipyards, 6 feet in the construction industry and 8 feet in long-shoring operations. Also, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

Here are additional precautions that must be taken at a workplace under OSHA safety standards to prevent falls:

• Guard any floor holes using a railing, toe board or floor cover to prevent accidental falls.
• Provide guardrails and toe boards around every elevated open-sided platform, floor or runway.
• Guardrails and toe boards must also be provided near dangerous machinery or equipment to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
• Other types of fall protection include a safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails.

Scaffolding Safety

A majority of construction workers operate on scaffolds or temporary platforms that are erected at construction sites. Some of the common dangers workers face as they operate on scaffolds include falls from elevation due to lack of fall protection; scaffolding collapse; being struck by falling tools, work materials or debris; and electrocution due to the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.

A scaffold is essentially an elevated temporary work platform. Scaffolds may be “supported,” which means they have one or more platforms supported by rigid, load-bearing structures such as poles, legs, frames or outriggers. Scaffolds may also be “suspended,” which means the platforms are suspended by ropes or other non-rigid overhead support. Other types of equipment such as scissor lifts and aerial lifts can also be regarded as types of supported scaffolds.

OSHA’s construction scaffolding requirements were originally adopted in 1971 and remained relatively unchanged until 1996 when the agency introduced performance-based standards that provided guidelines and specified some requirements. Under revisions made in November 2016, companies are required to comply with certain key safety standards that include worker training, fall protection and working a safe distance away from energized power lines.

When OSHA revised its standard for scaffolds in 1996, BLS reported that 25 percent of workers who were injured in scaffolding accidents had received no scaffold safety training. To prevent this, OSHA strengthened training requirements. Under the revised standards, companies must have each employee who performs work while on a scaffold trained by a person who is qualified in the subject matter to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold that is being used. “Qualified” means someone who has a degree, certificate or professional standing in the subject matter.

Companies are responsible for providing fall protection and ensuring its use. Employers are required to have a competent person determine whether fall protection is necessary and feasible for employees who are erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds.

Ladder and Stairway Safety

Ladders and stairways are a major source of injuries and fatalities at construction sites. OSHA requires construction companies and contractors to provide ladders for a number of workplace conditions. Here are some of the OSHA safety guidelines that apply to all ladders:

• Maintain ladders and keep them free of oil, grease and other slip-and-fall hazards.
• Don’t load ladders beyond their maximum intended load or the manufacturer’s stated capacity.
• Ladders should be used only on stable and level surfaces.
• Ladders should not be used on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement.
• Ladders that are placed in areas such as passageways, doorways or driveways must be secured.
• The areas around the top and bottom of ladders should be kept clear.
• Ladders should not be moved, shifted or extended while in use.
• Workers should use ladders that are equipped with nonconductive side rails to prevent electrocution hazards.
• Workers should be trained to use at least one hand to grasp when climbing and to not carry objects or loads that may cause loss of balance and falling.
• Workers should be provided with fall safety devices when they work on ladders and stairways.

Ladders that are defective and need repairs must immediately be marked defective or tagged with “Do Not Use.” They should not be used until they have been repaired. Fixed ladders with structural defects must also be withdrawn from service until repaired. Ladder repairs must restore the ladder to a condition meeting its original design criteria before it is returned to use.

The rules covering stairways and their components generally depend on how and when stairs are used. Here are some of OSHA’s requirements relating to stairway safety:

• Stairways that will not be a permanent part of the building under construction must have landings that are at least 30 inches deep and 20 inches wide at every 12 feet or less of vertical rise.
• Stairways must be installed at least 30 degrees and no more than 50 degrees from the horizontal.
• Variations in riser height or stair tread depth must not exceed 1/4 inch in any stairway system.
• Doors and gates opening directly onto a stairway must have a platform that extends at least 20 inches beyond the swing of the door or gate.
• Stairway parts must be free of dangerous projections such as protruding nails.
• Slippery conditions on stairways must be corrected right away.
• Workers must not use spiral stairways that will not be a permanent part of the structure.

Construction Safety Violations in New York

A recent report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health identified a serious increase in construction worker fatalities in New York State and New York City as well as a spike in safety violations at 90 percent of construction sites where a fatality was reported. The report said construction companies and contractors routinely violate OSHA safety standards with impunity.

The report also states that 80 percent of the construction deaths happened on non-union sites. Latino workers form the majority of fall fatalities – 57 percent in 2015. The report found that employers who violate health and safety laws also cause worker fatalities and that Latino and immigrant construction workers die at a disproportionate rate due to falls and employers’ willful violations of health and safety laws. In these cases the building owner and manager and the general contractor are often at fault.

What Are Workers’ Rights?

When it comes to construction site injuries and fatalities, there are a number of parties that may be held liable. Injured workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, in cases where parties other than the employer or co-employees have been found negligent (careless) or to have caused or contributed to the injury, victims can file what is known as a third-party claim seeking compensation for damages.

Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and/or managers, manufacturers of defective machinery, makers of faulty protective devices, etc. An experienced construction accident lawyer in New York City will be able to thoroughly assess each claim to determine all potentially liable parties.

Construction site accidents often leave workers with debilitating injuries that may prevent them from working in the future or even earning a livelihood. These accidents may result in severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma that can cause paralysis, multiple broken bones, internal organ damage, etc. Many victims are left with serious injuries that require extensive treatment and rehabilitation therapies, which may cost a significant amount of money. Often, health insurance policies don’t cover these types of costs requiring victims to pay out of pocket for continuing their treatment.

What Steps Should Workers Take?

If you have been injured in a construction accident, there are a number of steps you would be well advised to take:

• Report the incident to a supervisor right away. Make sure it is recorded and get a copy of the report for your records.
• Get medical attention, treatment and care for your injuries. Doing so not only gives you a good shot at a quick and full recovery, but also creates documentation with regard to the nature and extent of the injuries you may have sustained.
• Try to get as much evidence as possible from the accident scene including contact information for eyewitnesses. If any equipment was involved in your accident, be sure to preserve it. Your construction accident lawyer can also help preserve evidence that may prove crucial to your case.
• File a workers’ compensation claim in time.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries 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. 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 medical malpractice cases in New York, 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. We have recovered many millions of dollars for victims of construction site accidents.

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



Client Testimonials

Mr.Wilhelm and Mr. Ginsberg really care about representing people who might otherwise not be represented. They come to your home, if you are unable for whatever reason to meet with them in their office. That is a rare thing in this day and age. They do excellent work and try their utmost to achieve a positive outcome.read more
Veronica B.
I have worked as appellate counsel and of counsel to Mr. Wilhelm for 25 years. Mr. Wilhelm's firm always does an extremely thorough job of working up each client's case in order to optimize the chances of maximum recovery. The Wilhelm firm zealously litigates their clients' claims and, if necessary, will take a case to trial and on appeal to ensure that their clients get the best results possible under the law.read more
Susan N.
Mr. Wilhelm was very helpful and caring the whole step of the way. Also very efficient in handling my case which was very difficult. I could not thank him or his staff enough for their support.
Inawa M
Most helpful and caring law firm! Mr. Wilhelm and Mr.. Ginsberg make you feel right at ease! Happy holidays to all!
Veronica B.
Extremely professional and polite staff. Very caring lawyers and Mr. Wilhelm and Mr. Ginsberg made you feel right at ease. Would definitely recommend them to others!
Veronica B.
So thankful Mr. Wilhelm accepted me as a client!!I was first taken in by an attorney that only had his interests first, I can't even imagine how I would live if Mr. Wilhelm didn't get the chance to review my case, use his knowledge and experience and WIN BIG!!I didn't know what to expect as far as compensation but I knew everything was going to be all right when Mr. Wilhelm called me one day and asked is he could settle....WOW!!!Not only did Mr. Wilhelm win a summary judgement for me(in my situation this was very good), Mr. Wilhelm got me more money in my pocket than what the bum attorney I was with first demanded in full resolution.Don't waste your time like I did, talk to Mr. Wilhelm first and you will understand what I already know.I learned from my suit, every decision you make WILL AFFECT YOUR WELL BEING!!read more
transcender72
I met with an accident and my leg was broken. My friend suggested me to consult Kenneth A. Wilhelm's law firm as my medical bills was more than the coverage limits of the responsible party. Mr. Wilhelm was very friendly and kept me informed about the case progress and the case outcome was exactly what we expected.read more
John C.
Great attorney. Professional and courteous staff. Wouldn't use anyone else.
Joni Cicerale M.
When my daughter was burned in an accident, my husband and I looked for a good lawyer who specialized in burn cases. My husband found Mr. Kenneth A. Wilhelm, and we called him and met with him. He told us he would do whatever he could for our daughter, and he did! We were very pleased with the work Mr. Wilhelm did for our daughter, and we are glad we chose such an excellent lawyer. We would choose his services again if we had to, and I would recommend his services to my family, friends, or anyone who has need of a lawyer. My daughter is doing well because of him.read more
Stanley G.
My son was born prematurely, and I trusted the doctors and hospital to get him through the first few weeks and out of danger. The doctors made some mistakes in their procedures and my son is now injured for life because of their mistakes. I didn't know what to do. I hired Ken Wilhelm's law office because I heard from someone that Ken Wilhelm is the best. He and his attorneys held the hospital responsible for their errors. We received a very large settlement. It doesn't fix my son's suffering but I feel that my attorneys helped me get what my family deserved for our hardship.read more
Jean S.
I have known Mr. Wilhelm for the past 12 or more years. He represented me for different problems that I had, and he was very successful. I have no problem in recommending him to my friends and neighbors because he is an honest and reliable attorney.
Malcolm N.
I have been a client of Kenneth A. Wilhelm's law firm for many years. I am very pleased with the services that I have received. I have always told my family, friends, and neighbors that if they ever need a lawyer, they should contact Mr. Wilhelm. The employees are not only helpful in assisting your needs, but they are trustworthy and you can be comfortable leaving all matters in their hands. They were very helpful to me and my family when I had my accident, like a second family. Please don't hesitate to call the Wilhelm firm; they will be there for you in your time of need.read more
Guy F.

Call 1-800-967-5496 for a Free Personal Injury Consultation.

  • What Our Clients Say About Us

    Testimonial
  • Verdicts & Settlements

  • *Disclaimer:Some of the verdicts for the cases mentioned on this website were increased or decreased on appeal. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING