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New York City Worker Injury Blog

Construction Safety and Construction Development Can Coincide

The New York lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have frequently discussed worker safety laws in this space. Often, the opponents of New York's worker safety laws try to portray a parallel they claim exists between strong worker safety protections and a lack of construction development. New York City has shown this argument to be patently false.

A recent article in the New York Daily News has highlighted the recent surge in construction activity that has taken place in New York City. In fact, the article described the activity as returning to the boom-time levels of 2007 and 2008. Recent forecasts for construction spending suggest that nearly $33 billion will be spent on construction in 2014 alone. That represents a 17% increase from the lofty levels that were reached in 2013.

Fatal Work Accidents In New York City and State

There are some fatal work accidents that never happen in New York City but occur elsewhere in the state.   In September of 2014, for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that a farm worker was killed by a hay bailer while trying to clear a jam in the machine.  This type of accident is not likely to happen in the city. 

Construction Workers Buried After Ceiling Collapses

The New York lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy maintain a close relationship with the construction industry. The shared bond has been formed over many years and is a result of different factors, such as our willingness to fight for construction workers and their families. The firm has achieved great results on behalf of workers who have been injured in accidents. We also make it a point to follow developing stories in the construction industry, often highlighting the dangers of this work so that efforts at weakening worker safety laws are exposed. Worker safety remains a critical issue in New York State and beyond. Attacks on worker safety laws are still a threat to hardworking men and women and their families. That brings us to a frightening work-related accident that recently occurred in the Mineola section of Long Island today. The details are below.

Emergency personnel raced to the scene of a construction site in Mineola this morning. They were responding to a report that two construction workers were trapped underneath the rubble after a large portion of a ceiling collapsed on top of them. The ceiling piece was estimated to be a 30 by 50 foot piece of concrete. It also had wire racks attached to it. At the time of the accident, the building was being prepared for asbestos abatement. There were approximately 20 workers on the site and these two were unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their bodies were covered in rubble and debris and the emergency workers spent hours trying to dig them out. The other workers were not injured.

Construction Accident Statistics from the Dept. of Buildings

The New York City Department of Buildings releases statistics every month about construction accidents that occur in the city. The most recent month available, April 2014, shows both raw numbers of accidents and compares those numbers to the previous year, 2013.

Trenching Accident Kills Two New Jersey Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun an investigation into the death of two construction workers in Boonton, New Jersey, about 35 miles west of New York City.

Two men working on a landscaping crew died when a large hole collapsed on top of them. Although the landscaping company, Bednar Landscape Services, Inc., has no safety violations listed in the OSHA database, an agency spokesperson said the “Trenching deaths caused by cave-ins are completely preventable.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into Wednesday's trench collapse in Boonton, New Jersey that killed two construction workers.

One worker was caught in the 10-foot hole when it collapsed, and another jumped in to save him.  Neither was able to escape. 

Construction Workers Make Grisly Find

Construction workers face dangers on a daily basis. Their work often leads to deadly consequences. Still, yesterday, a few construction workers who were digging a trench for a gas pipeline made a ghastly discovery that would make even the most hardened construction worker white in the face. The workers, while digging, came across human bones. This all unfolded in the front yard of a residence only steps away from PS 90 in Queens.

Fatal Occupational Injuries 2013, Part 2

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In our previous blog post, we reported on the findings of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2013.  This post continues that story.

Occupations With Reduced Fatality Rates

The fundamental point of the report is that fatal occupational injuries are declining.  In certain occupations, this is particularly pronounced.  In construction, for example construction trades workers, construction laborers both in 2013.  The numbers for construction trades workers were particularly encouraging: Since 2006, the number of fatalities in this group has declined by 42 percent, and lower by five percent of 2012.

In transportation and materials moving occupations, fatal work injuries were five percent lower.  The improvement was particularly seen among sales workers and truck drivers.  However, the report noted that these numbers were expected to rise when final statistics are calculated (the current report is preliminary).

Farming, fishing and forestry occupations saw a decline of 13 percent in work fatalities. The most significant drop was among agricultural workers; there were 19 percent fewer deaths than in 2012. 

Fatal Occupational Injuries 2013, Part 1

The preliminary results of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2013 were released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics., a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The report contained mostly good news: Fatal work injuries were down in 2013 from 2012 by six percent in private industry.

The Good News About Workplace Safety

The 3,929 private industry workplace deaths represent the lowest number of such fatalities since the census began in 1992.  Other good news: The number of fatal work injuries involving workers under age 16 was down significantly, falling from 19 in 2012 to 5 in 2013. This is also the lowest number ever reported. Self-employed worker injuries were also down significantly, from 1,057 in 2012 to 892 in 2013.