New York is one of the safest states for workers, in part because of Labor Law 240-241, sometimes call the "scaffolding law." These statutes make owners and contractors absolutely liable for injuries that occur to construction workers. This means that they must provide safe scaffolding, ladders, elevators, and flooring to protect workers from falls and other workplace accidents.
Falls are the leading cause of construction workers' accidents, injuries and deaths. In fact, according to The National Occupation Research Agenda, one out of every three worksite injuries is caused by a fall. Workers can fall from, among other things, ladders, scaffolds and roofs.
Does a worker have the right to ask for a safety inspection?
The answer is yes. Look, we understand that this is not a comfortable conversation and one not many workers are willing to have. Why? All workers balance their next paycheck, paying their rent or mortgage and putting food on the table against the worksite dangers they face every day. It is never easy to confront a boss or contractor aover workplace safety or report a violation. Still, many hardworking women and men don't know that they have a right to an inspection by OSHA if there is a safety concern at the worksite.
The City of New York gives out tens of thousands of after-hours construction permits every year. According to the Department of Buildings, these permits are primarily about safety at construction sites and preventing construction accidents.
Stopping work at 5 p.m. can leave a job site unprotected and in dangerous condition. Residents and passersby are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries, according to city officials. The other reason for night work, of course, is that stopping work every night could add many months or even years to the time it takes to complete a project.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined a New Jersey laundry for significant workplace safety violations. The proposed fine is $219, 000. Prestige Industries LLC was charged with four repeat violations at its North Bergen plant. OSHA also issued five serious safety violations. These actions were the result of an investigation prompted by a complaint
A fatal construction accident in New York City, a death at a South Carolina paper mill, and a fatality at a Florida bottling plant have prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to step up its efforts to improve workplace safety for workers hired from temporary staffing agencies.
Recent initiatives proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will heighten enforcement and increase penalties for violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA has a bigger budget and larger enforcement personnel to implement and enforce new and stricter workplace safety standards to protect workers.
New York residents and workers are, unfortunately, familiar with the dangers of terrorism. However, workplace safety advocates are trying to shine a light on a far more common type of hazard: dangerous work conditions. According to a recent study, 4,609 Americans died in workplace accidents in 2011, compared to 17 American fatalities caused by terrorism in the same year. These accidents are most prevalent in the mining and construction industries and in jobs that require driving. In New York, this underscores the need for greater construction site accident prevention and safety training.
The recent terrorist attacks in Boston have, justifiably, dominated headlines. However, an explosion at a Texas factory that killed 14 and injured another 200 received far less attention. Workplace safety experts say these kinds of accidents should get more attention than they do because they happen far too often.
The explosion in Texas is frightening because it seems the plant may have slipped under the regulatory radar: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration last visited the plant in 1985. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the company claimed in its 2011 emergency response plan that there was "no" risk of explosion or fire at the plant.
Victims of workplace accidents may suffer serious injury or disability or even death. Injured workers may face costly medical or rehabilitative expenses or a loss of income from time off work. In serious accidents, the injured worker may need lifelong care and suffer a decrease in quality of life.
Victims of workplace accidents may benefit from speaking with an attorney. An experienced workplace injury attorney can evaluate a case and determine its probability of success. The attorney can also present supporting evidence and negotiate any possible settlement. After a fatal accident, the lawyer may work with the victim's family to seek financial compensation to replace his or her lost income and cover the family's pain and suffering.
Source: Huffington Post, "Workplace Accidents Are Hundreds of Times More Likely To Kill Americans Than Terrorist Attacks," April 24, 2013
The recent tragic collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh reinforces the importance of inspections and safety regulations as a means of preventing construction and other building accidents. Fortunately, there has not been a serious building collapse in New York City for some time, in part because of the strict safety regulations that are in place. However, they do occur. Thankfully, none have resulted in the staggering death toll that resulted from the unsafe building on the other side of the world.
Two construction workers - - working high above the ground - - were injured near the Belt Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn after the bucket carrier they were in while working on a utility pole flipped over. The accident, reported in the below NY1 link, while serious, was not more worse or even fatal because the workers were provided harnesses that prevented them from dying. Harnesses save lives and may have done so here. Nevertheless, the unsteady nature of the bucket is cause for concern and these workers certainly did not deserve to get hurt.