New York Construction Accident Prevention Guide

Construction is tough work. The long hours, exposure to the elements and physically demanding duties make it a challenging field. It's also one of the most dangerous lines of work. Construction consistently ranks among the top five deadliest industries, with a fatality rate nearly three times higher than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One out of every five worker fatalities involves construction.

Because of these hazards, safety is paramount in all types of construction work. The best way to deal with accidents is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Understanding How Accidents Happen – Construction's "Fatal Four"

The first step toward prevention is developing a better understanding of the hazards. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the vast majority of construction fatalities – more than 60 percent – arise from these four causes:

  1. Falling
  2. Getting electrocuted
  3. Getting struck by objects
  4. Getting caught in between or crushed by large objects

Accident prevention measures should address these key risks as well as the countless other hazards that workers face every day on the job.

Common Safety Lapses

As a construction worker, you have the right to a safe workplace. Compliance with OSHA regulations isn't optional. Nonetheless, far too many employers and contractors cut corners in an effort to save money, reduce hassle and stay on schedule.

The most frequently cited safety regulations involve:

  • Fall protection
  • Scaffolds
  • Electrical components
  • Ladders
  • Heavy machinery
  • Forklifts

Safety lapses in any of these areas can lead to devastating accidents. Sadly, it's often the workers themselves – rather than the supervisors or managers responsible for site conditions – who suffer the consequences.

For this reason, you should always keep an eye out for safety violations, and speak up if you encounter unsafe working conditions. Don't take chances when your life is on the line.

Cultivating a Culture of Safety

Making safety a priority for contractors and workers alike is the surest way to reduce the risk of accidents. Without a strong culture of safety, seemingly minor problems can easily fall through the cracks, snowballing into major risks that no worker should be expected to take. Shortcuts are never permissible where safety is concerned.

General Prevention Guidelines

You can reduce your own chances of getting injured or killed by following these safety tips.

  • Attend all safety training sessions and take them seriously.
  • Utilize protective clothing and gear.
  • Know what kinds of fall protection to use in each situation.
  • Understand how to use potentially dangerous equipment such as scaffolds, ladders, forklifts, machinery and the like.
  • Don't use damaged or defective equipment.
  • Report unsafe conditions immediately.
  • Don't look the other way if another worker is doing something unsafe.
  • Report construction accidents to prevent them from happening again.

It's easy for safety considerations to fall by the wayside in the course of day-to-day work. Accidents become tragic wake-up calls when safety isn't a priority. As a construction worker, don't become complacent. Periodic safety training is a good way to stay up-to-date and refresh your memory on how to avoid becoming the next victim.

Guidelines for Specific Hazards

Of course, every construction job – and jobsite – involves unique safety considerations. Learn more about the hazards specific to your work:

  • Falls: Nearly every type of construction work involves fall hazards, and they're the single leading cause of death among workers.
  • Ladders and stairs: A significant number of fall accidents involve these components.
  • Scaffolding: Working on or around scaffolds comes with a high degree of risk.
  • Trenches: Workers are killed every year in preventable trench collapses.
  • Cranes: These large, powerful pieces of equipment present hazards for operators as well as those working in their vicinity.
  • Toxic substances: Many of the materials involved in construction work have harmful health impacts.
  • Forklifts: Powered industrial trucks account for a significant number of vehicle-related accidents in the construction industry.

By following accident prevention measures for these and other key areas, contractors and construction workers can go a long way toward avoiding the heartache and life-altering fallout of an injury or death on the job.

What if Your Life has Already Been Upended by a Construction Accident?

An accident can leave you with more than just injuries. The financial, emotional and physical impact can last a lifetime.

At the New York law firm of Block O'Toole & Murphy, we're committed to helping construction workers and their families get the compensation they deserve. Our lawyers are firm believers in the importance of workplace safety and accident prevention at construction sites. We understand the complexities of construction safety regulations as well as the strategic considerations that come into play when handling serious injury cases.

These strengths are evident in our proven track record of success: we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for workers and their loved ones in construction accident cases.

If you were injured in a construction accident, call Block O'Toole & Murphy to find out whether you are eligible for compensation for your injuries and other damages. Contact us at 212-736-5300 or complete our online form to schedule a FREE consultation.