2020 and 2021 Were Deadly Year for New York City Construction Workers By Michael Joseph on March 29, 2022

In 2021, nine construction workers suffered fatalities in work related accidents in New York City. Our New York City construction accident lawyers discuss the legal issues surrounding these construction accident fatalities.  These construction fatality accidents caused the New York City Building Department to step up enforcement activites and inspection and as a result of these inspections, over 1500 stop work orders were issued and 3600 safety violations were identified. While the number of overall fatalities are down, these deaths occurred with construction generally proceeding at a reduced rate due to the lingering effects of the Covid pandemnic. For comparison there were 14 construction-related deaths in 2019 in New York City and 60 construction related fatalities across New York State. The majority of all construction accident worksite fatalities tend to occur in Brooklyn and Manhattan.There were also 13 New York City construction related deaths in 2018. Nationwide, one in every five work related deaths were in the construction industry. According to the New York City Buiding Department, in addition to these tragic fatal construction site accident, there were 514 accidents in which construction workers were injured in NYC in 2021. These obviously only include reported accidents and our New York City worksite injury lawyers know that countless accidents on construction sites go unreported because the Department of Buildings only reports construction worker fatalities that are caused by building code violations.

What are the most frequent causes of death on construction sites in New York? Falls from heights continue to be a significant cause of construction worker fatalities.  While New York has laws on the books that are intended to prevent these types of accidents, such as Labor Law 240, which requires that New York construction workers be provided with safe equipment such as ladders, scaffolds and fall protection including harnesses and lines. Our NYC construction accident lawyers know that unscrupulous contractors often ignore these rules and the construction workers and their families pay the price. On April 23, a worker fell ten feet from a walkway made of wooden planks that connected a sidewalk shed to a suspended scaffold shed in Brooklyn and later died from his injuries. Our Brooklyn construction accident lawyers know that if this young man had proper fall protection, he would still be alive. Another tragedy occurred in May, 2021, when a construction worker fell from a scaffold at a Maspeth Queens job site when he was trying to remove a ladder on the sixth floor of a building. Obviously if this worker had proper fall protection, this tragedy would have been avoided. The fatal accident was the second involving a New York City construction worker in four days, when another construction worker was killed in an elevator accident at a Bronx construction site. Fall related fatalities were at their highest in the last two years since 2017, with the second highest cause of death on New York City construction sites being mechanical failures.  Under Labor Law 240, the family of the construction worker can bring a wrongful death action against the site owner and general contractor. In November, 2021, a worker fell to his death, while painting the Manhattan bridge, near South Street in lower Manhattan. Had Labor Law 240 been followed, this worker would have had proper fall protection and he would still be alive. 

In another incident in May, 2021, a Bronx construction worker died in a fall from a job site at Flatbush Avenue, in Brooklyn, during a demolition job. According to OSHA falls during demolition jobs continue to be a leading cause of construction accident fatalities nationally, due to poor job planning, roof collapses and materials or debris falling and striking workers. Our New York construction accident lawyers know that both Labor Law 240 require protection from falling objects and Labor Law 241, requires safe demolition practices to prevent injuries during demolition. 

In another incident in March, 2021, an ironworker was critically injured while working on a Long Island Railroad construction project at the Mineola station. The accident happened during a project to construct a pedestrian bridge, when a crane came in contact with a high voltage line.  The Long Island Railroad is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and construction workers must file a notice of claim within 90 days of an accident to be able to sue. So while a family is still greiving or a worker is recovering from their injuries, the law requires a notice of claim to be filed or you cannot sue the MTA for a construction accident, unless you get permission from the New York Supreme Court to file a late notice of claim. 

Another tragic accident happened in July, when an explosion occurred at a Chelsea Manhattan construction site. To make matters worse a New York City Police cruiser en route to the accident was involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

In February, 2020, a construction worker in Jamaica Queens was killed when a wall collapsed during demolition. Our New York City construction accident lawyers know that Labor Law 241 and the New York Industrial Regulations have shoring and bracing requirements to prevent walls from collapsing when they are being constructed or demolished.  Demolition accidents continue to occur even though the year prior, following a Brooklyn trench collapse, Six people and three companies were criminally charged for manslaughter in the death of a construction worker at a site in Brooklyn last year. The charges were filed after complaints of dangerous conditions at the site, which were reported by laborers and neighbors, were ignored. Despite even criminal charges being filed, contractors continue to allow construction workers on New York City job sites to work in unsafe conditions. As a result of the unsafe conditions, the worker fell 10 feet, and died eight days later from his injuries. Five days later, another construction worker fell to his death from the roof of a bank in Flatbush, Brooklyn, during a demolition project.

For decades our New York City construction accident lawyers have represented construction workers who were injured because of unsafe job sites. If your loved one died in a construction accident call our NYC construction accident lawyers for a free consultation at our Midtown Manhattan office at 18 West 33rd Street, New York, N.Y. 

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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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