Outcry To End Construction Accident Fatalities In New York
Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous professions, and this week, thousands of New York City construction workers assembled to mourn the 30 wrongful deaths and fatilities of their fellow construction workers who died in construction accidents over the past two years. The construction worker are calling for new legislation to protect them and enforce job safety in an urgent call for action to help prevent future job-site fatalities. Our New York construction accident lawyers support new legislation and increased enforcement for job safety. Across New York City there have been vocal outcries and protests for greater work place safety on construction sites. Our New York City and Westchester construction accident lawyers know how devastating a workplace injury can be.
The sad fact is that most work site accidents are preventable if the general contractors comply with their obligations under existing law. New York’s Labor Laws provide strict liability under Labor Law 240 for personal injuries from falling objects and for falls caused by defective scaffolds and ladders. However the Courts have consistently sought to erode these protections by engaging in microscopic analysis of case facts in an effort to find that the laws don’t apply. This effectively narrows the protection that the law provides to New York’s construction workers. Likewise there have been repeated efforts by the Insurance lobby to weaken the existing Labor Laws by making Labor Law 240 subject to offsets for comparative fault, like those found in Labor Law 200 and Labor Law 241. These legislative attempts come at a time when New York construction accident fatalities are on the rise and in fact New York’s Labor Laws should be strengthened.
A recent study of New York City job sites found that construction worker injuries and deaths have dramatically increased in New York City in the last few years while the number of safety inspections simultaneously dropped. This reduction in oversight and enforcement signifies the needs for stricter laws for worker safety on construction sites. A reduction in the amount of OSHA inspectors accounted for a twenty seven percent drop in inspection while in 2015 there were 435 fatal injuries in New York State compared to only 128 in 2011, which is still too many. During this time period, safety inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fell from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015. In New York City, worker falls, accounted for 59% of all construction accidents, despite the already stringent requirements of Labor Law 240 for safe ladders, scaffolds and life lines.
For the last several weeks, there have been protests by the New York construction trade unions, carrying coffins through the street of New York to protest the lax enforcement and to call for a strengthening of laws to prevent future fatalities. Our Westchester lawyers support the construction unions fight for tougher laws and for greater enforcement to prevent future fatalities. It is important to remember that every coffin which is carried in protest represents the loss of a life and too often, the loss of a husband and father. Our construction accident attorneys have offices both in Manhattan and White Plains.