1An MTA worker fell to his death on the early morning of Tuesday, March 20 after a protective wooden railing broke while he leaned on it.
Members of the City Council are weighing a series of proposed laws that are focused on improving worker safety in the construction industry. The new laws are gaining momentum as the plight of the construction worker is being played out in local media outlets. The media, though slow to report on this ongoing problem, has recently revealed that more than 30 workers have died in construction accidents over the past 2 years. This has sparked some - but not enough - public outrage and has galvanized local leaders to try and make a change.
Has it become all too predictable? OSHA released its list of the 10 Most Frequently Violated Safety Standards and the results remain the same when it comes to construction. In the construction world, safety often boils down to fall protection, taking proper precautions around electrical hazards and making sure that workers are safe around machines. It sounds simple and maybe it should be. But, the same problems seem to surface every year.
Accidents happen. At work. A lot. And they are not always minor. In fact more than half of private industry workplace injuries and illnesses reported are of a more serious nature.
In our last post, we mentioned a recent report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health which suggested possible criminal prosecution for private sanitation companies who contribute to a worker's death because of indifference or willful disregard of a legal obligation. The suggestion is an interesting one, and raises the issue of what civil remedies there may be for workers harmed under such circumstances.
Every industry, every job, involves some risk of harm, on some level. Granted, some industries and jobs present a greater risk of harm to workers than others. Construction, mining, and manufacturing, for example, certainly present a greater overall risk of harm to workers than hospitality, retail and white collar work. Here in New York City, one industry which involves significant risks for workers is private sanitation work.
The Construction Accident Attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy welcome an about-to-be implemented OSHA rule leading to transparency concerning workplace injuries. The new rule will require companies in the construction industry, as well as other dangerous occupations, to submit statistics on workplace injuries to the Federal Government. The Federal Government will then make this information available on a public website. The rule is motivated by the belief that making injury data available to the public will cause employers to place a greater emphasis on worksite safety.
We've previously detailed information about numerous construction-related accidents throughout New York City which illustrate the inherent and daily dangers that individuals who work at construction sites face. As evidence of these grave dangers, during 2015 alone, a total of 17 workers lost their lives at construction sites throughout the city.