Despite new technologies and safety advances, increasing numbers of Americans are dying in workplace accidents. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,690 workers died as the result of traumatic workplace injuries in 2010. This is an increase from the 4,551 fatalities in 2009. To put the current number in perspective, about 13 workers die on the job each day in America. Construction accidents continue to be one of the main areas of employment resulting in death.
13 Job-Related Deaths A Day
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis stated, “Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.”
The construction industry is responsible for a significant percentage of workplace fatalities. In 2010, 18.7 percent of workplace deaths were due to construction accidents. Over a third of the fatalities on construction sites were caused by falls. The other three main causes of construction worker deaths were electrocutions, being struck by objects and being caught in between objects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) refers to these four causes of construction accidents as the “fatal four.” The fatal four cause 437 construction worker fatalities each year.
Construction Accidents In New York City
New York City has been taking action to reduce third party construction accidents. After two crane accidents in 2008 killed three workers, and a demolition fire in 2007 killed two firefighters, the city began passing new rules and laws to prevent such accidents. According to the mayor’s office, over 5,000 stop-work orders were issued by the Buildings Department in 2011 for safety violations.
The enforcement of the new safety regulations appears to be making a difference. Construction accidents in New York City fell by 18 percent in 2011; and accidents causing injury decreased by almost eight percent. These gains occurred even as construction activity increased by almost eight percent.
Despite these improvements, five New York City construction workers lost their lives in accidents due to safety violations. The loss of even one life from such a preventable accident is far too many.
Contact An Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction or other workplace accident, contact an attorney to discuss your rights and potential claims. An experienced attorney can advocate on your behalf to help ensure responsible parties are held accountable.