NEW YORK – The last few years have been busy for city construction workers. Timecards are being punched and paychecks are being cashed, but not everything is good on the work site.
Since the construction boom began, work-related deaths have spiked in New York City, from 17 deaths in 2011 to 25 job site fatalities in 2015. Across the state, construction injuries are up 40 percent, according to a new report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health that was released on Wednesday.
When you factor-in the number of injuries, construction accidents in New York State have skyrocketed from 128 in 2011 to over 400 in 2015.
At the same time, the number of safety inspections has been steadily falling.
Federal investigators with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) conducted nearly 3,000 inspections in 2011 – but that number has fallen to just over 1,900 in 2015, the report found.
That’s a drop of nearly 30 percent. According to researchers, the sudden lack of safety inspections is due to staff reductions; New York State simply has fewer inspectors.
In 20112, there were more than 80 inspectors checking work zones for safety hazards. Today, there are only about 66 active inspectors.
The Most Common Accidents are Preventable
Worker falls are the most common construction accident, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all construction-related injuries or deaths in New York. The safety report says that’s far above the national average of 36 percent.
The study combed over thousands of OSHA inspections and found that around 70 percent of the inspections resulted in safety violations and citations.
The data suggests that injuries most often occur on sites with poor oversight, and in work zones with few safety measures in place.
A Manhattan construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says almost every injury is preventable with the proper safety equipment and procedures, but these precautions are ignored too often, causing pain to workers and their families.
“Most of the construction accidents we see occur in non-union work zones in Manhattan,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “We also see a lot of injuries happen under the supervision of the same contractors, which have often been subject to numerous safety violations.”
In fact, 93 percent of the contractors that OSHA has cited multiple times are non-union contractors.
The Need for Safety
Many construction companies and contractors have a superb record, and safety advocates say they’re doing something right: they’re often very cautious when it comes to safety policies and require workers to wear protective gear at all times.
However, not all sites abide by the same policies. Some construction companies lobbied against a package of 19 construction safety bills that were brought to City Council this week, despite overwhelming support from trade unions.
Safety advocates say the culture must change on many construction sites, and if it does, construction accidents could be a thing of the past.
If the Worst Occurs
Unfortunately, accidents are still occurring at high rates. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, there are people who can stand-up for your rights and fight the companies who may have been able to prevent an incident.
The Manhattan construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have been fighting for hard-working New Yorkers for over 50 years, and they have a track record of winning cases for their clients.
If you’ve been hurt, call a Manhattan construction accident attorney today for a free consultation.
NEW YORK – City Council is expected to introduce a new package of bills that would address a recent spike in the number of construction accidents in the Big Apple.
If all the bills get passed, New York could see more apprenticeship programs and construction sites would be required to provide additional safety training. The bills also aim to change how the Department of Buildings reports accidents in construction zones, and develop a task force to improve and safeguard the city’s minority workforce.
Although the bills are receiving high praises from some safety advocates, critics are taking aim at the apprenticeship programs. According to Politico, contractors would be required to hire workers who have participated in such a program.
Many development companies aren’t on-board with that, and they’ve blasted apprenticeship programs as a way to give non-unionized workers a foothold in the construction industry, which is currently booming. Developers say the bills could make costs spike, or even shut down some construction sites, resulting in lost jobs.
However, supporters of the safety package believe this is a matter of life and death.
A New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says over the past two years, more than two-dozen workers have died on construction sites in New York City, and many more people have been seriously injured.
In early December, another worker fell four stories to his death while installing a façade in Williamsburg.
In another case, a construction foreman was sentenced one to three years behind bars in December after a 22-year-old worker was crushed to death when the trench he was working in collapsed. A Manhattan judge said the foreman’s negligence killed the worker.
A New York construction accident attorney says almost every construction injury can be prevented by following sound safety practices but many times, safety is not the strongest emphasis: timeliness and profit come first too often.
Workers, unions, contractors, and construction companies have been lobbying City Council for months; each making their recommendations about what regulations they’d like to see in place.
The bills are expected to be introduced to the New York City Council next week.
If A Construction Accident Impacts Your Family
If you or a loved one has been injured in work zone, the New York construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible from a claim.
Don’t fight the construction and insurance companies alone: many accident victims have relied on our experienced New York construction accident attorneys to hire expert witnesses and doctors to make sure our clients maximize their compensation.
With offices across New York State, Cellino & Barnes have the resources you need – and their attorneys don’t get paid unless they win your case. Call one of our legal advocates today for a free case evaluation.
NEW YORK – If you’ve ever been injured on the job, you’re not alone. Every year, around 3 million workers suffer injuries or illnesses while on the clock and the costs associated with those injuries can be staggering.
That’s over $50 billion each year that employers spend on injured workers. A Brooklyn construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says that amount is astounding when compared to the amount employers spend on preventing accidents.
“There are a number of construction sites that have been flagged for safety violations – and that’s just in Brooklyn,” construction accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Many job sites are downright dangerous but workers are told to punch-in every day despite the risks, which can be minimized but some employers refuse to put safety first.”
A recent U.C. Davis study found that when indirect costs such as loss of productivity, overtime paid to other workers and lower worker morale were factored-in, it brought the price tag associated with construction injuries to nearly $250 billion per year.
The hidden costs could be even more severe to the injured worker.
Brooklyn construction accident lawyers say workers often suffer the most when they’re injured on the job.
“Many workers are quite literally risking their lives; and when they do suffer an injury, they still have their monthly bills to pay – on top of the medical bills and lost time at work,” Barnes said. “It’s our job to help construction workers get what’s fair and improve jobsite safety for others.”
Workers want to feel safe. But many construction employers have assumed that injuries are part of the job – and their insurers are prepared to pay as little as possible.
However, many industry researchers agree: improved safety is the best option for everyone.
Studies of workplace safety programs from around the nation have shown a better return on investment (and a better safety track record). Unfortunately, those safety programs are often turned away and as a result, more workers could suffer severe injuries or even death.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – We all would like to be able to predict the future. If we could predict construction accidents, we could have fewer of them; but that’s not the reality we live and work in. So far, no one has been able to see into the future but technology could help.
Thousands of workers are injured every year after accidents in mining, construction, trucking, manufacturing, and other industries. Many of those accidents can be linked to worker fatigue.
In an effort to monitor fatigue and improve safety across many industries, Caterpillar Safety Services created a ‘smartband’ that assesses a worker’s risk at any given moment.
Much like the popular Fitbit, the smartband uses sensors and other data to determine when a worker is suffering from a lack of sleep or fatigue. Cat has already been using the devices at mining sites for two years but Buffalo construction accident lawyers say almost every industry could use technology to improve safety records.
“Almost every time a worker is injured, it’s a preventable injury in Buffalo,” construction accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “There are many safety devices that could help reduce injuries on a jobsite but many employers don’t offer these items because they’re not required to and, in many cases, technology costs money.”
At any time, an employee can push a button on the smartband to view their measured fatigue. If their fatigue score reaches near 70%, the worker could be considered fatigue-impaired and they run a higher risk of an accident.
Studies have shown that technology like the wearable smartband can at least make workers – and employers – aware of fatigue on a construction site. In some cases, workers discovered they had underlying health conditions, such as sleep apnea.
Studies involving fatigue-monitoring equipment have also examined shift work.
“Different shifts can affect different workers in different ways but without the right information, bringing fatigue to your employer’s attention can be a difficult subject,” Barnes said. “Safety technology could give workers that data they need to bring up their concerns and hopefully, prevent accidents from happening in the first place.”
Buffalo construction accident lawyers said safety should always be the top priority in a work zone but many times, workers are asked to put in loads of overtime or they aren’t provided with enough training – both of which increase their risk of an accident.
When an employer’s negligence or lack of oversight causes an accident on a jobsite, workers could be entitled to significant compensation. The Buffalo construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have years of experience handling these cases and they could help an injured worker get the best result possible.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Police are investigating the death of a worker in South Buffalo’s Old First Ward. Officials told Channel 4 News the worker was identified as Jeffrey Langenfeld, 27, of Tonawanda.
A Buffalo Police Spokesman said Jeffrey Langenfeld died when a large piece of machinery fell on top of him. The Buffalo News reports the piece of machinery that killed Jeffrey Langenfeld was a crane that was located at an industrial yard at 220 Katherine Street.
In any crane accident, an immediate legal investigation can help families identify what happened and why. According to OSHA, most crane accidents can be prevented by adequately training workers to operate machinery safely and by setting strict safety protocols.
An experienced attorney can also help families get the best result possible from a claim by carefully examining all aspects of the accident including the weather conditions, wind conditions, possible mechanical malfunctions, the operator’s track record, and the maintenance record of the machinery.
In a recent analysis of federal data, Buffalo construction accident attorneys found that more construction accidents are caused by cranes than any other piece of equipment. Some of the most common causes of crane accidents included:
Improper crane set-up
Falling debris, hazardous conditions around the crane
Improper use of a crane
The most common victims in crane accidents also tend to be bystanders – or workers who are struck by objects that fall from the crane, or struck by the crane itself.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also responded to 220 Katherine Street, which is the location of the Buffalo Industrial Diving Co., also known as BIDCO, which conducts underwater salvage operations and other underwater services.
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.”
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.”
NEW 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.
‘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.
NEW 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.
“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.
NEW 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.”
NEW 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.
“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.”
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