As COVID restrictions have been relaxed and the country moves toward normalcy, in New York City, the amount of construction work has continuously risen through the spring and into the summer. As construction work increases, so does the number of construction accidents. Indeed, there have been a total of forty-nine (49) reported construction accident related injuries so far in the year of 2021 in New York City.
On May 27th, a 49-year-old construction worker was on the roof of a Brooklyn building when he fell four stories to his death. According to NY Daily News, the worker was breaking apart a section of the roof when the piece of concrete he was standing on gave way. He was not secured to anything when he fell from the building. In the report one of the witnesses from the scene stated, “My question is, if he was working in a dangerous area why wasn’t he strapped in?” According to the CDC, 45% of construction related accidents are due to a construction worker falling.
In New York, Labor Law Section 240(1) provides protection for construction workers who are working at an elevated height from unnecessary risks by providing a legal recourse against the owners and general contractors at job site. Section 240(1) imposes a non-delegable duty on building owners and general contractors to provide construction workers who are working at elevated heights with adequate safety devices, including scaffolds, lifts, and safety harnesses. The failure to provide a construction worker with an adequate safety device can lead to strict liability against the owner and general contractor should the worker fall from an elevated height.
In view of the sharp increase of construction accidents and injuries, the New York City Buildings Department (DOB) has implemented zero tolerance standards in order to ensure the safety for both workers and the public at construction sites. These standards include shutting down sites if the DOB observes any safety violation. In addition, contractors could face up to $25,000 for each construction safety violation. According to Staten Island Live, throughout the past month there have been three construction workers who lost their lives in separate work-related incidents recently. This has led to the DOB shutting down 322 construction sites in New York City.
The Grandelli Firm has a long track record of fighting for the victims of construction accidents and their families. While New York’s construction laws are designed to protect a worker’s safety, it is important to retain experienced attorneys to fight for your rights. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, please contact our office for a free consultation.