New Safety Law Behind Decrease in New York City Construction Accidents
Anyone who lives in New York City knows that construction is always ongoing. With infusion of billions of dollars into the construction industry projected for 2020, even more sites stand ready to undergo development. When construction ramps up again after the current shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more workers will be exposed to the risks of construction work. Fortunately, a municipal law enacted in 2017 seems to be a cause for a decline in construction site accidents.
The construction industry has a higher fatal injury rate than any other sector of industry in the United States. Defective or improperly maintained scaffolding, ladders and electrical wiring are some common factors in construction accidents. Issues with heavy machinery, such as cranes and excavators, can also have life-changing negative consequences for workers and their loved ones. In some tragic cases, avoidable accidents occur when supervisors fail to uphold the safety standards in which they have received training.
The 2017 measure, known as Local Law 196, requires multiple hours of safety training for any worker at a New York City construction site that is required to designate a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator or Site Safety Manager. Workers designated as supervisors must complete 62 hours of training, while others must complete 40 hours of training. Once a person completes the necessary training, he or she is issued a Site Safety Training (SST) card, which remains valid for five years and after that can be renewed by taking a refresher course. The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) reported 174 fewer construction injuries in 2019 than the previous year, a 26 percent decrease that may have resulted in part from the required training.
In addition to the stringent training requirements imposed by the law, increased worksite inspections may be a contributing factor to the decrease in injuries. The DOB’s Construction Safety Compliance Unit has stepped up its efforts, completing thousands of random inspections and ordering millions of dollars in fines. To avoid these fines — and the possibility of personal injury lawsuits — construction companies are wise to adopt and uphold best practices for safety.
Often after a construction accident, workers’ compensation benefits are insufficient to cover the full extent of an injured worker’s out-of-pocket costs. In these cases, the worker may need to take legal action against one or more parties to recover damages. The personal injury attorneys at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson in New York City help construction accident victims to seek compensation from negligent parties. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys, call 888.746.8212 or contact us online.