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Construction is one of the most hazardous industries in the country. Despite the significant regulations and protection laws in place, construction workers are injured or killed on a nearly everyday basis in New York.
At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, our Long Island construction accident lawyer has an extensive track record of winning settlements for injured clients. When you work with our team, you can trust that we will work to help you achieve the highest compensation for your injury. Continue reading to learn more about the recent history of construction accidents on Long Island.
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Recent Construction Accidents on Long Island
In the United States, 14 workers are killed on the job yearly. Out of these workers, one in five are construction workers. Throughout their careers, construction workers have a high chance of getting injured and a 1 in 200 chance of being killed on the job. While we refer to these events as accidents, most injuries on a worksite result from negligence.
- In January of 2020, two workers installing a septic tank on a construction site in Upper Brookville, Long Island, were trapped under piles of dirt and wet sand when the walls of a 30-foot pit around them collapsed. Only one of the workers was found and tragically died from his injuries. The body of the other worker remains unfound.
- In July of 2020, a construction worker on a site in Glen Head fell 25 feet into a large foundation pit. The man suffered traumatic injuries to his body and head.
Construction is notoriously one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. There are several hazards on any construction site. Here are some of the leading causes of fatalities among construction workers:
- Struck by an object.
- Electrocution deaths.
- Caught or trapped between.
What To Do After A Construction Accident
While this line of work is inherently dangerous, site owners, contractors, and workers can take certain precautionary measures to ensure that a job site is as safe as possible. Many Long Islanders work in this often hazardous environment. Our experienced team has a remarkable track record of helping workers that have been injured in accidents recover compensation for their injuries. If you’ve been injured at work, make sure to do the following:
- Report the incident to a supervisor for a full written report.
- Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries and follow the doctor’s instructions.
- Contact an experienced Long Island construction accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Contact The Winkler Kurtz Law Firm
Unfortunately, there are far too many instances where worksites do not follow the proper safety guidelines. If you have been injured while working on a construction site, our Long Island construction accident attorney is here to help. At Winkler Kurtz, LLP., our team has a stellar track record of achieving compensation for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more.
Long Island Workers' Comp Lawyer
As an employee, you expect your employer to provide you with a safe and healthy work environment. In fact, the law requires it. Yet, every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job, and many of these injuries result from violations of safety standards. If this happens to you, we advise that you contact our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney.
Many workers are reliant on their physical well-being to earn their livelihood. An injury can make it so you are unable to provide for your family. These financial stresses make it difficult to focus on healing at the time you need it most.
Your Rights with Workers’ Compensation
In many cases, workers who are injured on the job will be eligible for benefits from workers’ compensation to cover the costs of medical expenses and lost wages. However, if the injury is the result of negligence on the part of a third party, such as the employer or a manufacturer, the injured worker may be entitled to damages from the responsible party. A qualified Long Island workplace injury law firm can investigate your case, determine liability, and help you get financial compensation for your injury.
Construction Accidents – Should I Hire A Lawyer?
At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, we consider construction to be the backbone of this country. Since it can be such a dangerous job, it is our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorneys’ priority to keep workers protected. If you’ve recently been in a construction accident, you may be entitled to legal compensation. To learn if you have a case that should be taken to court, consider scheduling a consultation with us today.
Common Types Of Construction Accidents
As previously stated, construction can be a hazardous line of work. One small accident can lead to lives being permanently altered. That is why when you fall victim to an instance such as this, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to our Long Island Workers Compensation attorney. The most common types of construction accidents include:
- Injury from falling debris.
- Machinery accidents.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
In most cases involving construction site accidents, workers can typically receive workers’ compensation benefits to keep themselves financially protected. However, ensuring you receive these benefits can be a complicated process at times. Companies tend not to want to pay people to sit at home and recover. Whether you agree with this stance or not, we can help if you believe you should be receiving benefits. While the workers’ compensation system can vary on a state-to-state basis, the general commonalities include:
- You must prove that you were injured.
- You must verify the injury took place in your area of work.
- Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
What Are You Entitled To?
Now that we’ve discussed a bit about worker’s compensation, our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorneys now want to touch upon what you’re entitled to after a construction accident. Although it will vary between claims, our team will work diligently to secure the most extensive benefits package possible after your injury. These benefit packages can include:
- Cost of medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Partial and permanent disability.
Pushing Past Workers’ Compensation
When the accident that took place was egregious, it can seem like filing a workers’ compensation claim isn’t doing the situation justice. Our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorneys understand this and can offer another route you can take. In certain instances, you’ll be able to file a civil lawsuit against another person or company present on your worksite. The best time to file for one of these lawsuits is when you are confident that the accident and subsequent injury would have been avoided if not for another party’s negligence. Winning these lawsuits can lead to a larger benefits package, allowing you to stay financially secure after the injury. For the court to rule in your favor, you must be able to prove the below:
- Another person had a duty of care to act reasonably around you on the construction site.
- This person failed to perform that duty.
- This negligence directly led to the accident that took place.
If a civil lawsuit isn’t the best option, there is still one more our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney would like to discuss. Sometimes, people acting the correct way can even cause an accident due to faulty equipment. Should this be the case, you may be able to file a claim against the product manufacturers. Those looking to win this case must prove the following:
- The tool or equipment was unreasonably dangerous when it left the supplier.
- The device was being used in the manner for which it was intended.
- The tool or equipment was defective and led to an accident.
Contact Our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney
After being involved in a construction accident, it is never too late to work with an attorney. At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, we’ll pair you with one of our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorneys who will give you the representation needed to win your case. To get this process started, contact our team today.
SCAFFOLDING AND LADDER FALLS
The CDC estimates that among construction workers, 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms involve ladders. What’s more, OSHA reports that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Injuries resulting from a scaffolding or ladder fall at work will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if the accident happened because of another person’s negligence, injured workers may be eligible to seek additional damages with a personal injury claim via our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney.
Construction Safety Laws in New York
OSHA maintains a detailed and comprehensive set of safety guidelines to help protect workers using scaffolding and ladders. They include:
- A scaffold must be able to hold its own weight and 4x the expected load, including workers, equipment, tools, and materials.
- Scaffold workers must be protected from falling objects through the use of hard hats, toeboards, mesh, and screens.
- Scaffolds must have fall protection, including personal fall arrest systems and guardrails.
- Ladders must be able to hold 4x the maximum expected load, including workers, equipment, tools, and materials.
- Ladder rungs must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced.
- Ladder rungs must be coated with non-slip material.
Causes of Ladder and Scaffolding Injuries
Injuries involving scaffolding occur most frequently in conjunction with the following safety hazards:
- Open sides. When a scaffold does not have guardrails, a worker may fall off.
- Unguarded rebar. Even a stumble onto unguarded rebar can cause serious internal injuries or death due to impalement.
- Unsafe access to scaffold. Steps, ladders, walkways, and ramps must comply with OSHA standards to minimize the risk of falling.
- Improper or defective construction. The instability or wobbling that results from loose connectors and braces, a base that isn’t level, wheels that are unlocked, or wood planks that are cracked could cause a worker to fall. In extreme cases, construction defects could cause the entire scaffold to collapse.
Ladder injuries most often occur in the following situations:
- Defective equipment. Any malfunction in a ladder’s structure could lead to a tragic accident.
- Improper equipment. Using a ladder that is not rated for the load could result in a collapse, and using a ladder that is the incorrect height may cause the user to fall.
- Negligence or inattention. A coworker’s inattention, when he or she is tasked with stabilizing the ladder, could cause the user to fall.
- Inclement weather. Using a ladder in rain or wind could cause the user to fall.
- The use of a ladder near power lines or other electrical hazards could result in electrocution.
Ladder and Scaffolding Fall Prevention
Injuries from ladder and scaffolding falls may be severe, but they are preventable. To minimize the risk of an injury when using ladders or scaffolding, workers and their employers should:
- Observe the comprehensive safety program put in place by the employer;
- Understand OSHA regulations;
- Train workers to identify potential hazards;
- and follow safe work practices.
STRUCK BY OBJECT
OSHA records more than 50,000 “struck by object” injuries occur each year. That’s one injury every ten minutes, seven days a week. According to OSHA, being struck by an object is one of the leading causes of construction-related deaths: about 75% of struck-by-object fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes, and workers in the construction, manufacturing, and agriculture industries are most at risk. If you fit this criteria, schedule your appointment with a Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney today.
Identifying Common Struck by Object Hazards
Construction workers are most often struck by:
- Trucks, cranes, and other heavy equipment
- Tools, particles, and other falling or flying objects
- Concrete, masonry, and other heavy objects that may collapse
Types of Struck by Object Hazards
There are four primary ways in which an object can strike a worker and cause injury. They are:
- Flying: for example, a nail gun accidentally discharging
- Falling: for example, tools falling off scaffolding or a suspended load being dropped
- Swinging: for example, being struck by a swinging crane load
- Rolling: for example, being hit by a vehicle in motion
Protecting Yourself and Others from Struck by Object Hazards
Employers have a duty to protect their workers from becoming injured on the job. This responsibility includes providing a safe work environment that complies with OSHA standards, as well as providing appropriate safety training for each employee. In addition to following all safety guidelines provided by their employer, workers should take the following measures to protect themselves:
- Wear a seat belt when operating vehicles.
- Inspect vehicles before each shift.
- Always use parking brakes.
- Use appropriate guardrails on scaffolds to prevent items falling from overhead work areas.
- Never work beneath a suspended load.
- Use personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and hearing protection.
- Use a full-body harness to protect you from falls.
- Secure loads properly to prevent them from slipping.
- When working at height, tie off tools to prevent them from falling and striking people below.
MACHINERY / EQUIPMENT INJURIES
Machinery that is not properly guarded is capable of inflicting serious and horrific injury on workers. Machine operators risk injuries such as crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, burns, blindness, and worse. In construction, vehicles and mobile heavy equipment are a major cause of fatalities, resulting in about 400 deaths each year.
Although OSHA publishes guidelines for the safe usage of machinery, machine guarding requirements are one of the top 10 most frequently violated OSHA standards. This suggests that many machinery and equipment accidents are preventable. In fact, the failure to adhere to safe operating procedures is the primary causal factor of machinery fatalities. If you feel that you are being slighted by your employer, please give a call to our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney.
How Machinery and Equipment Injuries Occur
Employees are most likely to suffer machinery and equipment-related injuries when unjamming objects from the equipment, cleaning the equipment, and adjusting the equipment. In the vast majority of cases, injuries occur due to moving machine parts or energized electric parts. This generally happens because the equipment was not powered off before the worker performed the task.
According to OSHA, the types of machinery most likely to cause injury are:
- Agitators and mixers
- Rolls and rollers
- Conveyors and augers
- Saws and cutters
- Earth moving equipment
- Crushers and pulverizers
- Forges and presses
- Electrical apparatus
Causes of Machinery and Equipment Injuries
Unfortunately, injuries from machinery and equipment most often occur when the manufacturer, owner, or operator of the machinery has been inattentive, reckless, or negligent. Common causes of machine injuries include:
- Inadequate training
- Unsafe construction site design
- Negligent equipment maintenance
- Equipment malfunction or defect
- Safety violations
- Ineffective supervision
- Operator inattention
- Misuse of equipment
Preventing Machinery and Equipment Injuries
Preventing machinery and equipment injuries is as simple as following these common-sense safety procedures.
- Implement proper guarding on every machine.
- Always wear the appropriate protective equipment.
- Never interfere with moving machinery or its operator.
- Never operate machinery without the proper training.
- Stay clear of machines when they are operating.
Each day, 14 workers are killed on the job nationwide. Of these workers, one in five work in construction. Over the course of a construction worker’s 45-year career, he or she has a 75% chance of experiencing a disabling injury and a 1 in 200 chance of being killed on the job. If you’ve suffered an injury via your occupation as a construction worker, you contact our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney.
Although we call them “accidents,” most construction site injuries are in fact the result of negligence. Sixty percent of construction accident injuries occur during the employee’s first year of work. With appropriate training, many of these injuries could have been prevented.
Leading Causes of Construction Worker Deaths
As construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., it comes as no surprise that construction sites are fraught with potential hazards.
OSHA has identified the four leading causes of fatalities among construction workers, dubbed the “Fatal Four.” In order of frequency, these are:
- Falls – 38.7% of total construction worker deaths
- Struck by an Object – 9.4% of total construction worker deaths
- Electrocution – 8.3% of total construction worker deaths
- Caught between – 7.3% of total construction worker deaths
The sad reality is that most (if not all) of construction fatalities that are attributed to the Fatal Four could be prevented if employers, manufacturers, and workers complied with OSHA standards. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 631 lives every year.
Construction workers may be at risk of falling from scaffolding and ladders, cranes, roofs, and other heights. Fall protection is the most-violated OSHA standard and falls are the most common type of fatal construction accidents.
Best Practices for Fall Prevention
- Install guard rails on elevated platforms and around equipment
- Use appropriate fall protection, such as harnesses, lines, nets, and railings
- Keep floors clean and dry
Struck by Object
The second most common cause of death in construction accidents is struck-by-object injury. Even if a worker is wearing a hard hat, he or she could suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) if improperly secured tools or construction materials fall from above.
Best Practices for Struck-by-Object Injury Prevention
- Secure tools and materials used in elevated work sites
- Never work beneath a suspended load
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment, including hard hats, safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and hearing protection
Electrocution can cause an array of injuries, ranging in severity from burns to cardiac arrest. Electrocution accidents most often occur due to unsafe equipment, unsafe environment, or unsafe work practices.
Best Practices for Electrocution Injury Prevention
- Properly label electrocution hazards.
- Power down hazardous electrical equipment when not in use.
- Provide proper training and protective equipment (e.g. insulated gloves).
“Caught between” accidents account for the fourth-highest rate of construction worker fatalities. These can be particularly gruesome, as they occur when a worker is crushed between objects, pulled into machinery, or trapped in a collapse or cave-in.
Best Practices for Caught-Between Injury Prevention
- Reinforce tunnels to prevent collapse
- Secure machinery and loads to prevent them from falling over
- Avoid wearing loose clothing that could be caught in machinery
Toxic Chemical Exposure: Another Type of Construction Injury
Most construction sites are home to an array of toxic chemicals, including lead, formaldehyde, and asbestos. Exposure accounts for 15.7% of all construction injuries, and construction workers account for 15% of all reported lead poisoning incidents in the United States.
Depending on the type and duration of exposure, a construction accident involving toxic chemical exposure may result in:
- Chemical burns
- Respiratory diseases
- Internal organ damage
- Reproductive damage
- Birth defects
OSHA regulations require that employers protect workers from hazardous chemical exposure by training on safe handling, establishing safe exposure limits, and providing the necessary safety equipment, including respirators. Manufacturers and distributors of chemicals also have a responsibility to convey potential hazards to their customers.
If you have suffered from health problems as a result of toxic chemical exposure in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, future wage loss, and pain and suffering. The law offices of Winkler Kurtz, LLP offer complimentary consultations to prospective clients. Contact us today to learn more about our Long Island Workers Compensation Attorney.