A frightening new report from the Department of Buildings indicates that at least one pedestrian a month in New York City is injured because of unsafe construction sites. The story title (see link below) is “Danger From Up Above” because pedestrians in New York City are being hurt by falling bricks, tools, glass and even plywood at unprecedented rates.
The study highlights an incident where a giant saw blade which should have been safely secured was sent flying through the air on Manhattan’s West Side. Another thing for people to worry about when they cross the street. Given these findings it would be wise for all pedestrians, hardened New Yorkers and wide-eyed tourists alike, to be wary when walking near a construction site.
Statistics from the Department of Buildings showed 18 construction accidents last year occurred involving pedestrians. This represents the largest number of accidents involving pedestrians since 2008. This number does not take into account the recent rash of high profile accidents involving pedestrians that have taken place this year.
Why the sudden increase? Experts are pointing to poor workmanship and contractors who prefer to cut corners when it comes to safety as an explanation for the increased dangers to pedestrians in New York City. Costs at a construction site dictate many decisions. They represent a large percentage of what goes into the overall project. The higher the costs, the lower the profit.
Financially interested contractors will cut corners to increase their profits and once that happens the first casualty is safety. This is a grave mistake and will haunt our city if we don’t correct it. People matter a great deal more than profits.
Who is responsible for safety at a job site? Who can we point to as someone who should be focused on reducing innocent pedestrians becoming victims at construction sites? Is the job of general contractors and construction managers to make sure that job sites are safe. They need to be held to a higher standard because innocent victims are paying the price.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that prides itself on fighting for construction workers and their families. We have recovered more than $850 million in verdicts and settlements for our injured clients.