A New Report Reveals that Falls Are a Serious, and Too Often Fatal, Problem at New York Construction Sites

Construction injuries involving falling workers are very serious matters. The most recent statistics show that fatal falls are unfortunately trending upward in New York. Falls suffered while working at a construction of construction-related job, whether fatal or non-fatal, are often extremely damaging for the worker and his/her family. If you’ve been hurt as a result of one, you should take action promptly by retaining an experienced New York City construction injury attorney.

Back in January of this year, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health released its annual report called “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities.” That report contained some pieces of good news, such as the fact that construction fatalities were trending downward in New York City. It also contained some serious causes for concern, such as the information that was revealed about workers dying construction fall accidents.

Falls account for about 50% of all construction fatalities

According to the report, construction falls continue to be one of the largest causes of fatal construction accidents, both within New York City and statewide. In the previous decade, 187 workers in the state died in construction falls, with 78 of those occurring in New York City. Both in the city and statewide, those fatal falls represented roughly one-half of all of the construction accident deaths.

One bit of good news is that New York has strong statutory laws in place to protect construction workers who have suffered injuries as a result of falls. New York has something nicknamed the “Scaffold Safety Law” or sometimes the “Scaffold Law.” Don’t be fooled by the nickname; the law helps out far more than just workers using scaffolds. That law, located at Section 240(1) of the Labor Law, says that the general contractor on a project and the property owner of a site have what’s called a “non-delegable” obligation to provide all workers with proper safety protections to safeguard them from “elevation-related” risks of harm, including falls.

I’ve been hurt in a fall at my construction job. What can I do?

So, what does all that really mean for you? It means that, if you were involved in any of the following and were injured in a fall, then you are potentially eligible to recover damages in civil court for the harm you suffered (because a fall, by definition, is an “elevation-related” or “gravity-related” risk of injury):

  • erection of a structure
  • demolition of a structure
  • repair of a structure
  • alteration of a structure
  • demolition of a structure

This accident can be you falling off a scaffold, but it doesn’t have to be. This law can also allow you to recover if you fell off a ladder, off a ledge, off a platform, off an elevated beam, from a cherry-picker basket, off the forks of a raised forklift or from any substantial height generally.

The law also means that you can pursue that compensation from the project’s general contractor and/or the property owner, and possibly others, too. The law requires the general contractor and the owner to provide you with proper safety protections from falls and says that they cannot escape liability by saying that they delegated (or handed off) that responsibility to someone else. Whether the safety protections needed but not used involved barriers at the edge of a ledge, warning signs around a deep hole, safety harnesses, proper places to tie off a harness or some other protective item, the evidence of your fall alone may be enough to prove that you didn’t receive the adequate safety protections the law requires.

Whether you were hurt, or a loved one was killed, in a fall while working at a construction job in New York, you have harm that you’ve suffered and you probably have many questions and concerns, too. For the clear and useful answers, along with the effective representation you need, reach out to the experienced New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team is here to help, offering extensive experience in handling construction injury cases and helping the injured and their families to get the compensation they deserve.

Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.

More Blog Posts:

Proof of a Lack of Fall Protection Allows an Injured Demolition Man to Win His New York Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Julio de 2018

Catholic Mass to Honor New York Construction Workers Killed on the Job Reminds All of the Importance of Workplace Safety, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 30 de Mayo de 2018

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