Falls are the number one cause of fatalities on construction projects, both in New York and nationwide. Sadly, a construction worker fell four stories to his death at a construction site in Hell’s Kitchen on August 25, 2015. According to police, the worker was navigating wooden planks that were set up over an elevator shaft when the planks gave way underneath him.
New York Construction Facts
Just this past May, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health released the findings of its study, “Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC.” Through its study, the Committee found the following:
- Although less than four percent of the New York workforce is employed in the construction trades, 20 percent of all workplace fatalities in New York State occur in the construction industry;
- For all workplace deaths in the construction industry, falls cause half of construction industry deaths in New York State and 71 percent of all injuries in New York City;
- In 2012, immigrant and/or Latino workers constituted 60 percent of all construction fall fatalities; and
- Also in 2012, 79 percent of fatal falls on construction sites occurred on non-union projects.
Summarizing the Committee’s findings, executive director Charlene Obernauer described the state of construction site fatalities in New York City as an “epidemic.”
National Construction Facts
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”), one in five workplace deaths in the U.S. in 2013 occurred on construction projects.
Only four kinds of accidents account for over half of all fatalities on construction projects nationwide:
- Worker falling – cause of over one-third of all construction project fatalities;
- Worker being struck by an object – cause of just over 10 percent of all construction project fatalities;
- Worker being electrocuted – cause of 8.6 percent of all construction project fatalities;
- Worker being caught in or between equipment – cause of 2.5 percent of all construction project fatalities.
OSHA Fall Protection Requirements
For any work that is being performed at an elevation of six feet or higher, federal OSHA provisions require employers to provide fall protection for all employees performing such work. In particular, OSHA requires employers to provide the following:
- A railing and toe board around such holes in which a worker could fall;
- Elevated open-sided platforms or work stations, catwalks, or runways; and
- Other fall protection, such as safety nets or harnesses, under certain circumstances or when certain types of work are being performed.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Now
If you or a loved one has been injured by a fall on a construction site, you should speak with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. The attorneys at the Battiloro Law Group have extensive experience in the areas of workers’ compensation and construction injury and can fight for all the benefits to which an injured worker is entitled.