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Heat Warning!

/ Construction Accidents /

NEW YORK – The temperatures keep rising and this weekend, the mercury should rise above 90 degrees in the Big Apple. For some New Yorkers, that’s great news (since we only get a few months of warm temperatures) but for many others, it’s dangerous. Those who are outside must take preventative measures to protect themselves from heat stress and in some cases, employers must be careful too.

With the climbing temperatures, it is especially important for those working outside to stay cool; a New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says not only can heat stress cause exhaustion – it can also lead to serious injuries and illnesses.

“A worker can begin experiencing symptoms of heat stroke within minutes working outside in New York,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Heat exhaustion can lead to poor judgement and it can also slow down a worker’s motor skills so it’s important for everyone to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in order to avoid serious injuries.”

According to the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration, both air temperature and humidity can affect how hot a worker feels. OSHA follows the National Weather Service’s “heat index” chart to better measure the potential risk to workers.

Heat Warning!

Those who work outside face a higher risk of heat-related illnesses. Direct sunlight can add up to 15 degrees to the heat index. Although OSHA doesn’t have a specific safety standard for hotter temperatures, New York construction accident lawyers say employers have an obligation to protect workers from excessive heat.

“High temperatures are a hazard that anyone can identify but too often we see supervisors ignore safety and push workers to the point of exhaustion,” Cellino said. “It’s important for employers to take extra precautions to protect workers from overheating.”

During 2015, OSHA received more than 200 complaints of heat-related hospitalizations and at least eight workers were killed as the result of heat exposure. The agency reports it is already investigating several worker deaths this year.

Doctors and safety advocates say each accident is preventable and in most cases, simply giving workers water, rest and shade could have prevented an incident.

“Water is one of the most important aspects to staying cool during summertime heat waves,” Cellino said. “But when temperatures reach over 90 degrees, water alone may not be enough to prevent an accident – that’s why we are urging supervisors to give workers plenty of rest and time out of the sun while it remains hot outside.”

OHSA also provides a free heat app for both iPhone and Android users.

For more information about Cellino & Barnes or for more summertime safety tips, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.

The Top 5 Workplace Injuries

/ Construction Accidents /

The Top 5 Workplace InjuriesNEW YORK – Construction isn’t easy but someone has to keep building. That onus is on the backs of more than 1.5 million construction workers and carpenters in America. While many of them avoid injuries, accidents can happen – and they’re often costly when they do.

According to new study from Travelers, the average claim can cost anywhere between $8,000 to more than $42,000 and some injuries can cost over $100,000 to treat.

The Most Common Accidents

  1. Material Handling – 32%
  2. Slips, trips and falls – 16%
  3. Struck by object – 10%
  4. Tools accident – 7%
  5. Body overuse – 4%

The Most Common Injuries

  1. Strains/Sprains – 30%
  2. Cuts or punctures – 19%
  3. Contusions – 12%
  4. Inflammation – 5%
  5. Fractures – 2%

‘Material Handling’ simply means carrying an item. A New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says many workers can pull or strain muscles by lifting heavy items. While most of these injuries are minor, they can sometimes affect your job.

“Workers are lifting items in just about every industry in New York,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It’s no surprise that it’s the most common injury – but it can also leave a worker sidelined for weeks as the medical bills pile up.”

New York construction accident attorneys say most workers can get fully compensated for their injuries and lost wages but it often requires a skilled attorney to obtain a fair deal.

“Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible and that can be very frustrating for workers,” Cellino said. “Our lawyers have seen the devastation construction injuries can have on a worker and their family and we understand that a fair settlement can go a long way.”

Of course, it’s best to avoid injuries if possible.

Safety advocates urge both workers and managers to make the job site as safe as it can be. This includes:


    • Preventing slip and falls by keeping job sites clear of obstacles and hazards


    • Use caution when working from heights. Educate workers about proper safety practices and always place ladders on stable surfaces.


    • Provide safe equipment. In construction, tools and machines often require regular maintenance and should continually be reevaluated for safety.


    • Rest and reduce stress. Overuse injuries are among the most common on job sites. Proper rest and techniques can reduce your risk of injury.


    • Create a safety culture. Safety should be everyone’s top priority and all concerns should be properly addressed to prevent accidents from happening.

Even when these suggestions are followed, accidents can happen. If you’ve been injured on the job, contact a New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

For more information about the newest safe construction practices and techniques, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.

More Going Up, Falling Down

/ Construction Accidents /

More Going Up, Falling DownNEW YORK – Your ladder can be a great a tool if used properly but more people – men in particular – are getting injured or even killed while using a ladder. The issue is becoming so prominent that some experts are now strongly recommending the use of a helmet in all settings, even if you’re just working at home.

According to a recent study, this kind of accident almost exclusively affects men over the age of 55. The study examined over 500 falls from different heights and researchers determined that some falls from just three feet could be deadly.

A Manhattan construction accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says ladder safety isn’t emphasized enough in many work zones.

“Falls from ladders are some of the most common cases we get because they happen both at home and on work sites in Manhattan,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “For those reasons, we strongly urge contractors to reevaluate their safety guidelines and for those working at home, take every precaution before stepping on a ladder.”

Of nearly 550 admissions after ladder falls, 58 people were taken to an intensive care unit. Of those 58 emergencies, 26 were immediately checked into a nursing home or rehab facility. Just 17 made a smooth recovery from their injuries and returned home. The remaining 15 died as a result of their injuries.

“We see how devastating these injuries can be in almost every case,” Cellino said. “Even those with minor injuries can find it hard to get back to being themselves again.”

Researchers believe the dramatic increase in ladder accidents is linked to the ageing baby boomer population and, in part, to ‘do-it-yourself’ home improvements. Manhattan construction accident attorneys are now urging those over 55 or those who are inexperienced to at least wear a helmet while working on ladders.

Cellino says the benefits of helmets far outweigh any inconvenience and they are proven to minimize the risk of the most serious injuries.

The team of researchers behind the ladder study is currently planning a second study – hoping to identify the exact cause(s) behind the increased number of ladder falls. This will begin in March.

Constructing a Safe Work Environment

/ Construction Accidents /

Constructing a Safe Work EnvironmentNEW YORK – Whenever you see a crane towering over your neighborhood, the thought might cross your mind: what if it falls? Some construction professionals now consider that possibility every day after heavy crane collapsed in Tribeca earlier this month.

City inspectors are investigating the accident, hoping to discover the cause of the crane collapse that killed one person and injured three others. Initial reports suggest a 40-mph wind gust caused the crane to tip, according to the New York Daily News.

At the time of the incident, there were over 400 cranes in operation across the city. A New York construction accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says it’s important for every company using cranes to reassess safety.

“At the end of the day, everyone wants to go home to their families without an incident in New York,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Safety should always be a company’s top priority but unfortunately it often takes a back seat to profits and deadlines.”

Just hours after the crane accident in Tribeca, Mayor de Blasio introduced new safety protocols and penalties:

  • Penalties quadrupled for serious construction safety violations
  • New supervision requirements were added
  • An estimated 100 additional building inspectors will be hired
  • The city will conduct enforcement sweeps over the next 3 months

Hundreds of workers and pedestrians have been injured over the past year as the city experiences a building boom. New York construction accident attorneys say other cities watching, too. Places like Buffalo and Rochester have all reported more construction permits.

“When there’s an accident, many workers rely on us to get them the best result possible,” Cellino said. “This can be costly for construction companies but the bottom line is that almost every accident can be avoided.”

Reevaluating Construction Safety

/ Construction Accidents /

Reevaluating Construction SafetyNEW YORK – You may have noticed your neighborhood is growing at a rapid pace and construction cranes dot the Manhattan skyline. The city is experiencing a major construction boom which has brought a number of new jobs to the area but it has also caused a number of serious accidents.

On Monday, Mayor de Blasio announced the city would make several changes in an effort to improve safety for construction workers – just two days after a crane collapsed in Tribeca, killing one person and injuring three others.

Among those changes, large crawler cranes would be required to stop operating and go into safety mode whenever wind speeds are forecasted to whip at over 20 miles per hour.

A Manhattan construction accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says stricter standards could prevent another accident.

“Nearly 500 New Yorkers were hurt in construction mishaps last year and as personal injury attorneys, we get to know many of those families,” Manhattan construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “We form a bond with our clients and their families and they often want us to make sure these accidents don’t happen again.”

According to the Department of Buildings, construction is up 300 percent in New York and it’s causing some safety violations to slip through the cracks.

The construction boom has left the inspections division shorthanded. Recently, the department announced it would be hiring 100 new inspectors to help tackle the increased workload but even with more inspections, some argue the penalties are not harsh enough to deter safety violators.

Before Monday, the fine for ignoring the wind standards for cranes was just $4,800. Mayor de Blasio said the fine for these safety violations will be increased to $10,000 – effective immediately.

Manhattan construction accident attorneys hope the new changes will make jobsites safer across the city.

“It’s great to see the construction industry is creating jobs and we know many of the city’s construction workers are proud of what they do,” Barnes said. “But there’s nothing more important than your safety.”

Safety Violations Found in 83% of Construction Inspections

/ Construction Accidents /

Safety Violations FoundBUFFALO, N.Y. – Workers across the nation are enjoying a construction boom and some areas like Western New York are seeing great benefits. However, there are extreme safety concerns.

The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH) released a report this week that found safety violations were discovered in 83 percent of the construction inspections conducted by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

WNYCOSH members also concluded that federal investigators don’t conduct enough safety inspections in the Buffalo-area. A construction accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says the findings are concerning and many workers could get hurt without the proper safety protocols.

“Too often, we see a company cut corners and compromise worker safety so it can meet deadlines or boost profits in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “When safety guidelines aren’t followed, a construction injury can be costly and devastating to workers and their families.”

There were thousands of construction permits issued in Western New York in 2014 and according to the WNYCOSH report, OSHA only conducted 288 inspections that year. That’s roughly one inspection per weekday in an area that covers ten counties, including two heavily populated metropolitan markets (Buffalo and Rochester).

Of OSHA’s inspections, the report found that 86 percent of all violations were classified as “serious,” “repeat” or “willful.”

“Safety violations should be unacceptable on construction sites but every day workers are risking their health and sometimes their lives,” Barnes said. “It is time for constructions businesses to put safety above the bottom line.”

The report stated it focused its research on construction falls because the construction industry and its insurance companies are currently backing legislation that would weaken New York State’s Scaffold Safety Law, which holds owners and contractors liable for many types of injuries.

The proposed changes would allow employers to take more safety shortcuts and the risk of worker falls would likely go up.

WNYCOSH members hope the findings can improve safety and raise the penalties for construction companies slapped with violations. Currently, the average penalty costs only $1,963 and WNYCOSH argues it is “too little to effectively deter construction employers from taking safety shortcuts.”

Many workers who have been injured on a construction site may need an advocate who will protect their rights and help them receive fair compensation. For over 50 years, the Buffalo construction accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped workers get the best results possible. Click here to learn more about construction injuries and how one of our legal advocates can help.

Getting Back to Work

/ Construction Accidents /

Getting Back to WorkBUFFALO, N.Y. – Whether you’re an employee or an employer, a workplace injury can cost you in many different ways. More than a million workers are injured on the job every year and some of them don’t get much help from their employer.

A Buffalo construction accident attorney at the law offices of Cellino & Barnes says prevention and immediate intervention can make the difference.

“Almost all workplace injuries can be prevented but these accidents still happen every day in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “When these injuries aren’t reported or immediately treated, that can raise costs for everyone and it could make it more difficult for that worker to recover.”

According to a study conducted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, delays can increase costs by over 50 percent. The authors of the study said workers who immediately reported their injuries generally had better recovery times and lower costs associated with their accidents.

Barnes says a good attorney could also help reduce the costs connected with a workplace injury.

“Medical bills can be expensive and lost wages can be an added pain and distraction for any worker,” Barnes said. “Our attorneys focus on injuries and we understand what it takes to get you the best possible compensation in a workplace or construction accident.”

Most injured workers have never been hurt on the job before and some don’t know what to expect from the claims process. Barnes says an experienced Buffalo construction accident attorney can take care of the legal paperwork, forms and even schedule appointments with doctors.

Lawyers say although there are many uncertainties after a workplace accident, immediately reporting the injury and getting an attorney as soon as possible could make the recovery process a little easier. As some research suggests, it could also get you back to work faster.

Overtime and Overworked Raises Injury Risk

/ Construction Accidents /

Overworked Raises Injury RiskBUFFALO, N.Y. – Construction accidents are on the rise in New York State as more high rises and offices are being built. The construction boom is also sending a number of workers to the hospital for injuries suffered on a job site. Many of these injuries occur when workers are on overtime or when they’re overworked, according to a new study.

The report, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, found non-fatal injuries like strains and sprains were common among overworked employees. The workers who faced the highest risk were those who clocked-in long hours and had above average workloads.

A Buffalo construction accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said frequent heavy lifting and long hours can put an unnecessary strain on a worker’s body, exposing them to a higher injury risk.

“Even when all the safety guidelines are followed, workers can be prone to accidents after a long day on a job site in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said.

The study examined nurses working night shifts and long hours and found their risk of muscle strains and sprains greatly increased when nurses had a busy day. Researchers said more studies are needed to identify ways to reduce injuries on the job.

Cellino said safety equipment and a limited workload can vastly improve the work environment.

“In some cases, our clients were overworked and didn’t receive the proper training, which led to serious injuries,” Cellino said. “These injuries could easily be prevented if managers and construction companies put safety first.”

Back strains and sprains were some of the most common injuries associated with overworked employees. Buffalo construction accident attorneys say these injuries can be minimized with the use of safety equipment and supervision. If a worker is injured, lawyers suggest calling a doctor first. If the injury persists, legal action may be necessary to recover the costs associated with expensive treatments or lost wages.

Workplace Injuries Spike In Summer

/ Construction Accidents /

Workplace Injuries Spike In SummerBUFFALO, N.Y. – Medics were called to a rail yard Friday morning when a person was pinned between freight box and a train. News articles reported the accident crushed the legs of a 29 year-old worker.

Unfortunately, accidents like this happen every summer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report more workers are injured in June, July and August than any other time of year. A BLS report found nearly 3,300 workers are injured every day in the month of June.

Buffalo construction accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say most of the accidents that occur can be prevented with proper oversight and safety procedures.

“These people are working hard to support their families in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It’s heartbreaking to see so many people get injured because of a negligent company or supervisor who put workplace safety in the background.”

Statistics show most workplace accidents are sprains, strains and tears. However, it’s not uncommon for workers to break a bone or suffer multiple injuries as a result of lax safety protocols. Nearly 44 percent of all workplace injuries put an employee on the sidelines for over 11 days.

“Workplace safety has certainly improved over the years but there’s still a culture that needs to change,” Cellino said. “Some employers might say their top priority is safety but it’s not rare to find employees under unreasonable deadlines or companies cutting corners to turn a profit. That’s not right.”

Cellino says there’s no reason to put profits ahead of safety anymore because companies are paying more than ever for workers’ compensation. The Department of Labor estimates employers pay nearly $1 billion every week in workers’ compensation costs alone and that number could be higher during the summer months.

Researchers could not explain why more workers are hurt during the summer months but the Bureau of Labor Statistics plans to submit additional reports in the future.

Construction Culture Needs To Build-Up Safety

/ Construction Accidents /

Construction Culture Needs To Build-Up SafetyNEW YORK – Construction workers in the 1930’s were having Lunch atop a Skyscraper (see right); without hardhats, without harnesses, without hardly any of the safety standards abided by today. It’s safe to say modern construction has come a long way.

The iconic picture tells the story of America’s construction prowess and the potential perils of progress in the early 1900’s. What the picture fails to show is the many accidents that happened on construction sites, many of which are deadly.

“Construction is certainly safer today around the country and specifically, in New York,” construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, there’s a worksite culture that leaves safety in the background when it still needs to be the top priority.”

Thousands of construction accidents still occur every year. A report released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health found up to 71 percent of construction accidents are height-related and half of all construction accidents are falls.

“There’s technology currently in place to prevent all accidents on a worksite; every one of them,” Barnes said. “However, these safety techniques can be costly and developers often avoid using them.”

The Port Authority on New York and New Jersey noted the construction on One World Trade Center used a safety system that cost $9 million.

Almost 400 miles away in Buffalo, construction employment is at an all-time high and safety advocates fear it could be a recipe for disaster if the proper safety procedures are ignored.

Germain Harnden, executive director for the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health wrote to the Buffalo News:

“The April jobs report should permanently put to rest the old canard that we cannot have both strong jobs growth in the construction industry and strong safety laws to protect workers.

Construction employment is up 11 percent over the last year and is now at an all-time high for the Buffalo Niagara area. According to big business lobbyists, though, that kind of hiring should not be possible, thanks to the Scaffold Law.

That law holds contractors and owners responsible when they break lifesaving safety rules, but for years, lobbyists have wanted to gut the law so as to shift the blame for construction accidents from those who actually control work sites to the men and women who follow orders and do the work.

Last week’s news makes clear we do not have to sacrifice safety for jobs. That is no surprise. The Scaffold Law has been on the books for more than 100 years, through booms and busts. Nearly every building you see across New York State was built, successfully, under its guidelines.

Putting workers’ lives at risk should never be on the table. As the April jobs report makes clear, it never has to be.”

New York construction accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say all construction accidents are avoidable with the proper oversight and safety features.

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