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New York City Worker Injury Blog

Study Shows Construction Workers Suffer Mental Distress

Readers of this blog know that serious physical injuries from falls are a major cause of injures among construction workers. Other common causes of injury include equipment failure, being hit by swinging booms and falling building materials, and being buried in shoring accidents.  We seldom write about the non-physical injuries suffered by construction workers.  However, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in 2013 revealed that construction workers also suffer from a variety of job-related mental and emotional illnesses that increase their risk of physical injury.

Construction Accident Attorneys Provide Insight on Job Site Falls

Construction work is widely known as a dangerous profession. Most associate the risks of construction work with people laboring at great heights. Few people recognize this reality: As many as 40% of fatal construction falls happen at 15 feet or lower. In fact, more than 5% of fatal construction falls happen at 6 feet or lower. Falls from lower heights can still have steep consequences.

These statistics surprise many people. 6 Feet? You can catch yourself with ease after falling from a mere 6 feet, can't you? Well think about what catching yourself while falling really entails. The average person's reaction time in the best of circumstances is one-half a second - - often much slower. Many experts will offer opinions that reaction time is higher but we will use the conservative half-second for illustrative purposes. In that half-second time period a person falls 4 feet. As you are falling, science kicks in. Gravity pulls you down and your speed quickly Increases as you descend. That means your impact force increases too. And, once you start falling, you will stop only when you hit a lower surface. Still think you can catch yourself? A person who weighs about 200 pounds and falls just 6 feet will hit the ground with almost 10,000 pounds of force. Think about that - - - 10,000 pounds! If you try and catch yourself under those circumstances, what are the chances you won't seriously injure yourself? They aren't very good. Obviously the force of the impact increases exponentially when you are falling from a greater height. Still, too many skeptics dismiss the force a person's body endures when falling from 6 feet or less. They also are cynical when a person claims they could not catch themselves or safely break their fall. The people harboring these opinions are, frankly, naïve. These misperceptions lead to employers and contractors acting lackadaisically when it comes to safety for workers that are laboring at lower heights, a mistake which leads to serious consequences.

20-Foot Elevator Shaft Fall Seriously Injures Worker In Columbus Circle; Focusing On Elevator Safety Following Tragic Accident

The New York City attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy know a thing or two about how an elevator accident can impact an injured victim and their loved ones. After all, they have helped countless people who have been seriously injured in elevator accidents. Today, they are bringing you news of a frightening elevator accident that took place in Manhattan's famed Columbus Circle. Learn more about the accident and some helpful information about elevator safety, in general, by reading below.

What Does OSHA Do?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency charged with securing the health and safety of 130 million workers in the United States - a daunting task. The federal agency partners with similar state-level agencies, such as the New York State Department of Labor, Division of Safety and Health (DOSH).

OSHA is a small agency. Even with the addition of state-level partners, there is only one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers. The result is that there are just too few inspectors and too many job sites - around eight million - to be able to proactively inspect every worksite on a regular basis. The agency relies on the cooperation of individual workers and employers, labor union and industry groups to strengthen its efforts to make work safe in the United States.

The NYC Buildings Department and Construction Accidents

This blog focuses on construction accidents and the dangers to workers at construction sites and other jobsites in New York City. Although employers and building owners are responsible for ensuring that their workplaces are safe, who oversees the employers and building owners to make sure they are in compliance and following city, state and local laws? It's the city's Department of Buildings.

Rodolfo Vasquez-Galian's Death in NYC Construction Accident Illustrates Risks to Immigrants Who Work Construction

Rodolfo Vasquez-Galian, a 27 year-old construction worker, was crushed to death by a collapsing concrete slab at a Manhattan construction site. The New York lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy did a blog post yesterday on this construction accident.

Today's post is a follow-up. The tragic accident will be further discussed. We will also highlight how immigrant workers continue to be asked to face jobsite dangers more often than non-immigrant workers. 

NYC Construction Worker Killed By Falling Concrete Slab

The New York City attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are reporting on a developing story of a tragic Manhattan construction accident.

According to various media reports, a 27 year-old construction worker was crushed to death today when a concrete slab fell on him while he was working.

The unidentified man was working at the site, a building that was under construction between 8th and 9th Avenues on Manhattan's west side. The victim was doing excavation work at the time he was crushed by the falling slab. The slab was, reportedly, part of the building's foundation wall prior to it collapsing on top of the unwary worker. The building was supposed to be converted to a 18 story high-rise hotel by a wealthy developer

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and those who loved him.

Buildings and walls within structures are susceptible to collapse, particularly during construction work like demolition and excavation. Often a building or wall collapse is associated with poor design, foundation failure or faulty construction work. The risk of a building or wall collapsing is increased when work is being done to restore a structure that has fallen into disrepair. When a wall collapses, it can be the result of unsafe shoring or bracing, a lack of support, or excessive pressure being placed on the wall.

The circumstances surrounding this tragic accident will be thoroughly investigated by, among other agencies, the New York City Police Department, The Department of Buildings (DOB) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They will determine whether the owner of the building, Sam Chang and the McSam Hotel Group, or the architect, Gene Kaufman, were in any way responsible for this accident. The investigation may lead to fines and could potentially result in criminal charges. Regardless of how the investigation shakes out, an innocent hardworking man lost his life when all he did was show up and try and put an honest day's work in. We will be following the details of the investigation and share them with you as they unfold.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is a law firm that prides itself on helping injured construction workers and their families. The firm has recorded more than $800,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their injured clients. You can learn more about these committed lawyers by reviewing the firm website


Tags: construction accidents, fatal accident

Buildings Department Announces Decrease in Fatal NYC Construction Accidents

The New York lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy continue to follow the trends and news related to the construction industry. Today, we bring you some positive news recently released by the New York City Department of Buildings. The Buildings Department announced a steep decline in fatal construction accidents during the past year.

Construction Workers in New York Safer -- and Legal

Construction workers in New York and Illinois are better protected than workers in other states, according to a report by McClatchy DC that appeared in ProPublica. Why? According to the story, these two states have strict laws about misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a practice that dishonest construction companies use to underbid those who are paying state and federal taxes and insurance.

On-the-Job Injuries Among Bricklayers and Masons

Injuries and illnesses affect bricklayers and masons more than the national average; this is true for most construction-related trades. Academic researchers and government agencies have identified conditions and circumstances more likely to result in on-the-job injury or illness.

Common Injuries Among Bricklayers

Common injuries include musculoskeletal injuries resulting from lifting heavy loads of bricks and other construction materials. The act of laying bricks requires bending, twisting and squatting. An average mason lays 1,000 bricks a day; the result can be significant repetitive motion strain. Suffering cuts, head injuries and broken bones from falling or being hit is another common injury.