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Do fewer inspections lead to more New York construction accidents?

New York City is one of the oldest cities in the nation. Many of its buildings are well over 100 years old. For construction companies, this can mean a steady income as old buildings are torn down and new structures rise in their place. When working on any type of building, however, construction companies should ensure that their workers are protected from injuries.

While there are many safety rules in place, construction site accidents are still occurring -- and are even reported to be increasing. According to New York City data, there were 119 construction accidents in the fiscal year 2009-2010. However, that number increased by 31 percent the following year, resulting in 157 accidents. One of these accidents resulted in the death of a construction worker when his employers allegedly chose to ignore a cracked steel beam and a sagging floor.

The city has a Buildings Department whose job is to make sure that building sites do not pose any threat and that contractors are following safety rules. However, a decrease in staff has resulted in fewer inspections being made and some are now wondering if this has contributed to the rising numbers.

In the case of the fatal accident, it has been alleged that the contractor hid the dangerous conditions, previously described, from the Buildings Department. This indicates a willingness on the part of some contractors to take risks for the sake of getting a job done on time.

Such negligence from contractors puts construction workers at unnecessary risk. New York labor law is clear in the responsibilities of contractors to ensure the safety of workers. While the city tries to regulate the dozens of construction sites around New York City, contractors are ultimately the ones who can prevent accidents from happening.

Source: New York Daily News, "Jobsite accidents in New York City jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012, while injuries up 46% in same period," Greg B. Smith, Jan. 13, 2013

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