Those who work in construction know that every day can come with a new set of risks. From working on top of buildings to operating dangerous machinery, working in construction brings a set of risks that many other professions don’t have to worry about. Working with heavy machinery can often lead to accidents and injuries that can put your life and health in jeopardy daily. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction business has the fourth-highest fatality rate of any industry, with 9.7 deaths per 100,000 employees annually. Many things can lead to construction accidents on a job site, but there are four causes of accidents that all workers should be especially aware of.
1. Lack of Safety Procedures
Construction accidents can happen anywhere from a densely populated downtown area like New York City to a more residential area like Long Island. A lack of safety procedures can often cause construction site accidents. Insufficient safety procedures can lead to injuries and sometimes even death. A construction worker who’s not following safety procedures can often make mistakes, which can be harmful to themselves or others. In some cases, workers themselves aren’t aware of the safety procedures and don’t follow them because upper management hasn’t prioritized safety. For years, construction firms have put a low priority on safety procedures, which is causing them to lose a lot of people to accidents. Many construction firms go to great lengths to avoid paying for new policies and properly training their employees on safety, even if that means relying on old practices that put workers at risk.
2. Employee Negligence
One of the most common causes of construction accidents is employee negligence. It can result from employees who are not adequately trained or are not satisfactorily supervised. It can also happen when the worker is too tired to concentrate or assigned to work with machinery unfamiliar to them. Employee negligence can often happen when the general contractor doesn’t follow safety procedures or protocols, leading employees to be poorly trained. Construction sites are dangerous places—considering the workers who operate heavy machinery, perform manual labor with concrete and steel, and are near electrical tools. There is an immense amount of danger in the construction industry. But in addition to the natural hazards of the job, some risks are human-made. It can be something as simple as a worker with poor communication skills. Many cases of employee negligence can be solved through proper safety training and education.
3. Poor Working Conditions
Working in dangerous conditions is one of the biggest causes of work-related accidents in the construction industry. If you are working in a hazardous environment or in situations that are not conducive to working safely, you are at risk of being hurt. Likewise, if you are not wearing the right equipment or clothing for the job, you are also in danger. Besides the physical risks, working in poor conditions can also take a toll on your mental well-being. The stress can be so much that workers are more often prone to accidents. While the construction industry has been trying to improve working conditions, those efforts have been slow and ineffective.
A construction job site may not have any set safety standards. Construction accident injuries are far more common if the worksite is unsanitary, poorly guarded, and inadequately maintained. These are all conditions that property owners and company managers are responsible for. Though cases may vary, it is often management’s fault if there are poor working conditions. Additionally, when work on an excavation site needs to be conducted quickly, the space is often overcrowded because management hires subcontracted workers. Not only does this lead to overcrowding, but subcontracted construction workers are often not as well trained on a site’s safety procedures when they are hired in a rush, which can lead to many accidents on site.
4. Improper Site Supervision
Every construction site has a supervisor who oversees all the workers. The supervisor is supposed to manage all the workers and ensure they are doing things correctly and safely. If the site is not adequately supervised, the workers might not follow safety protocols or have the necessary training to do certain things correctly.
On the worksite, supervisors are responsible for a large deal of the day-to-day activities, not only assigning duties. Employees must be provided with a safe and healthy work environment by their supervisors. An employee’s ability to report dangerous or unhealthy working conditions should not be retaliated against by their boss. Unfortunately, this can often be the case on construction sites in major cities that have hundreds of employees. That’s why it’s so important to have a construction accident lawyer in New York.
New York Provisions for Construction Site Accidents
Workers’ compensation protects employees who get hurt on the job. Even yet, many construction workers suffer serious injuries that are not covered by workers’ compensation policies.
Workers may sue a third-party contractor under New York’s Labor Law 240 for unsafe circumstances that resulted in their injuries. This section includes wounds or impairments caused by falling objects or falls from a higher altitude. Specific safety equipment and safeguards are available to construction workers who do “required” or “incidental” work on the construction or maintenance of a building at high heights (on a scaffold or ladders on tall buildings).
If a contractor or other party breaches specific safety rules at a job and that violation results in an injury, they are liable under Labor Law 241. This statute eliminates the need for the injured worker to show that the defendant was careless in causing the harm; the violation alone indicates negligence.
How the Leav & Steinberg Team Can Help
If you’ve suffered a construction accident and you’re struggling to get past the long-term effects it’s having on your health and well-being, then you must be compensated for this wrongdoing. At Leav & Steinberg LLP, we know that accidents can happen on job sites, and that’s why we’re here to help you. Contact us today at 347-960-2422.