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NY Times Reports Dramatic Increase in Fatal Construction Accidents

New York is a city in constant flux, always re-imagining and reconstituting itself. Construction is a major part of the dynamism that is New York. But the recent spike in construction citywide has some people asking whether it’s possible to manage all the new building projects safely, or whether fatal accidents are simply a cost of letting New York be New York.

On June 2, the New York Times reported that fatal construction accidents in NYC are on the rise. Eight people have already died this year, after as many died in all of 2014. That total was up from three in 2013. Total accidents are also on the rise: statistics are unavailable for 2015, but 231 construction accidents were reported in 2014.

This may be a simple equation: more construction work equals more dangerous work equals more accidents. Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, told The Times that $36 billion was spent on construction in NYC last year, topping the 2008 record of $32 billion. The number of new building permits the City issued exceeded 98,000, up from 74,000 in 2010.

Anderson admits it’s not simply the volume of activity that increases risk, but the quality of the workmanship. Creating more work often means employing “more new workers who may not have as much experience or training.”

Still, there is not likely to be a slowdown in construction activity any time soon. Mayor de Blasio has called for more construction of affordable housing units and has allocated $148 million to the Buildings Department for the next fiscal year, a 29 percent increase over the current fiscal year’s spending.

The most immediate danger is to the workers themselves, but New Yorkers still remember back to the building boom of 2008, when two cranes collapsed in the short span of two months, claiming nine lives. But accidents need not be dramatic to be deadly; in March of this year, at the site where the old St. Vincent’s Hospital is being redeveloped as condos, part of a construction fence, meant to protect passersby, came loose in the wind, struck a woman and killed her.

As personal injury attorneys, we believe in the power of civil lawsuits to deter careless construction activity. That’s an additional reason we seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for our injured clients. If you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, take advantage of our free consultation. Call Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson. P.C. at 888.746.8212 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced injury attorney.

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