Heavy machinery, dangerous locations and long hours make the construction industry among the most dangerous workplaces in New York. Because construction site injuries and accidents are so common, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set forth strict guidelines and regulations to help keep workers safe.
Lifts, ladders and scaffolding pose some of the greatest risk for construction workers. Statistics show that 22% of injuries are due to falls from high equipment. Because so many construction employees frequently work on scaffolds where falls can occur, steps must be taken to prevent falls. The construction and design of the lift, ladder, crane, hoist or scaffold must conform with OSHA requirements, and equipment must be inspected frequently to ensure it is in good working order.
Other causes of injuries and fatalities at construction worksites include being struck by an object, caught-in/between accidents and electrocution. In 2019, over 195,000 workers compensation claims were made due to construction site accident injuries. This number may be even larger as some experts estimate that 50% of all injuries may not be reported. Employers need to frequently review the worksite and equipment and continually provide training to employees to decrease the number of accidents that occur.
When an accident or fatality occurs on a construction work site, the employer is often held liable for these injuries. Statistics from OSHA show that an average of $70,000 is paid per injury claim. This is why construction employers may want to consult a lawyer versed in construction law. A lawyer may understand construction defect litigation and delay-related claims that could be filed by employees as well as help determine liability and prevent an employer from spending time and money on potential false claims. For example, an employee who fell from a ladder may not have used it properly. If negligence on the employee’s part can be proven, the employer’s liability may be limited.