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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.

The Acting Commissioner of the Department of Buildings announced a sharp decrease in fatal construction-related accidents in New York City in 2013 when compared with the statistics in 2012. Specifically, 8 individuals died while performing construction related work in 2012 compared to 3 in 2013. This represents a decrease of 62.5%. The three fatal construction accidents, not surprisingly, were the result of falls due to inadequate fall safety protection at the worksite. Falls at construction sites consistently rank highest in reasons for construction accidents and constructed related deaths.

The Department of Buildings attributes the reduction in fatalities to a more intense focus on safety. The Department of Buildings cited their dedicated specialized enforcement units that address concerns and emphasize pre-construction planning and site safety for challenging jobs. One critical issue is that the reduction in deaths comes as construction permits continue to be issues at a staggering pace. What do you take away from this? This is clearly a positive step: much fewer construction-related deaths and much more construction work.

Fariello commented in a DOB Release that the 3 fatalities still need to "serve as a reminder that we need to keep up the pressure when it comes to safety. As building increases across New York City's neighborhoods, we must remain diligent in our enforcement and in finding new ways to keep workers and New Yorkers safe." The Department of Buildings has implemented quite a few new construction safety laws over the last several years. It is welcome news to see these laws playing a role in the day to day lives of hardworking women and men in the construction field.

Of course, the news is not all good. There was an increase in the overall number of construction accidents from 2012 to 2013. The increase, a somewhat modest 5.7%, also resulted in a larger number of construction injuries. These increases, on their face, make it appear like things are growing more dangerous. However, there is another perspective that needs to be considered. The Department of Buildings' presence is more ominous in investigating construction related accidents. That increase, coupled with the vast investigative powers of OSHA, likely increase the number of construction accidents that are actually reported rather than discreetly handled without the authorities learning of them. This increased scrutiny may account for the increase in reported accidents, rather than it illustrating a less safe work environment.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is a law firm that is committed to helping injured construction workers and fighting to preserve worker safety laws. The firm has a long history of battling large companies and powerful insurance giants on behalf of injured workers. They have recovered more than $800,000,000 in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients, many of whom are injured construction workers. You can learn more about these construction accident lawyers by reviewing the firm website at For a free consultation, you can contact them at 212.736.5300.