Enacted in 1855, New York’s ‘scaffold law’ serves to protect all construction workers who risk life and limb to build this magnificent city but unfortunately, construction workers are injured on job sites throughout New York each and every day because of dangerous conditions and shortcuts taken. With any dangerous undertaking, there are risks involved but the sad reality is that in a lot of cases, the accidents can be avoided. Whether it’s a reckless sub contractor; a demanding owner/developer; a careless and cavalier site safety officer; or just simply a job where the bottom line takes priority over a workers safety, construction workers are injured day in, day out.
If you or your loved one has suffered any injuries while in the course of any construction related activities such as for example, building, repairing, renovating, pointing, cleaning, demolishing, constructing or excavating, immediately consult an experienced, reputable personal injury lawyer. At DTM, we provide the best legal assistance in all types of personal injury cases and have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to construction accident cases and the relevant laws that apply.
Before you hire a lawyer, here are some of the things you need to know about construction site accidents.
The following are the most common types of construction site accidents.
Falls From Height – One of the most common accidents that occur on job sites and one of the main reasons that New York enacted in 1855 what is referred to as the “scaffold law” is because of these types of accidents. Construction work brings with it many risks and one of those risks is the need for workers to work at significant heights as the building is being built. In order to protect those workers, the Courts require that certain precautions be taken and certain equipment be provided to prevent any injuries. Court’s require that suitable equipment is used in certain situations such as using a steel scaffold as opposed to an A frame ladder or requiring that a person be tied off to an anchor point by means of a harness. Safety nets, sidewalk sheds, hoists, pulleys and slings are examples of equipment that the Court requires use of in certain elevated situations. Falls can occur in many different situations and each case is fact specific, it could be a fall from unsecured scaffolding, the planks aren’t flush or the planks aren’t strong enough, it could be that the ladder used is defective, it’s not long enough, doesn’t have rubber feet or it’s just not the correct type of ladder to be used. Falls from ladder’s are the most common type’s of a fall’s from a height on construction site’s. In this type of accident, the worker often sustains injuries, broken bones, fractures, and in severe cases death. It’s because of these risks and the potential fatal injuries that can occur that the Court’s impose such stringent requirements on owners and contractors who operate and manage the work sites.
Falling Objects – Just like the section above, although referred to as the “scaffold law,” the Courts have enacted the labor law to protect workers from objects that fall from a height. We’ve all seen it as we walk through the streets of Manhattan or even the outer boroughs where work is ongoing, we have seen that image of the crane moving equipment or material from one are of the job site to the next, we have seen workers pass boards of dry wall from one point to another and often this exchange occurs at a height. We have even seen workers who are using tools and equipment to complete work on the exterior portions of buildings and at times accident’s occur and some of the material, or equipment or tools are dropped and can cause fatal injuries to the unsuspecting work below. As a result, serious and permanently debilitating injuries can occur.
Tripping and/or slipping Hazards – Another common accident on construction site’s is tripping and/or slipping and falling. Construction site’s initially are open spaces when a building is being built from the ground up and even when the structure is in place, worker’s have to use certain passageways and entryways to navigate their way around the job site. Whether it is snow and ice from a recent storm, debris that is simply left strewn around, cables, pipes and material that is carelessly left lying about or boards and planks that are left on the ground with sharp extrusions like nails sticking out of them, workers can easily find themselves slipping and/or tripping and falling over on site because of dangerous and defective conditions. As a result of these falls workers can experience serious, disabling and permanent injuries.
Defective Equipment – All the tools used on a construction site should be regularly maintained and inspected to ensure proper and safe functioning. If tools are defective, it’s the responsibility of the owner and general contractor to ensure that safe, functioning tools and equipment in good repair is used on site. If any construction worker’s are injured as a result of a defective tool, it may be considered to be the owner and general contractors’ fault, and they may be held liable for resulting damages.
Tips to prevent construction site accidents
Read below to find out how you can prevent construction site accidents:
- Provide proper safety training to all the workers.
- Conduct frequent crew meetings to make your workers aware of the common hazards at the construction site.
- Make sure the workplace is clean and well-organized.
- Workers must use personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety boots, ear defenders, safety goggles, and safety clothes.
- Prevent falls at the construction site by providing the necessary equipment needed to complete the task at hand and make sure that the equipment provided is the correct size and weight and is suitable for the task.
- Recognise the workplace hazards and make plans accordingly.
- Follow OSHA guidelines.
- Regularly inspect the job site.
If you or your loved one have sustained injuries from a construction site accident, contact DTM at (917) 809-7014.