New York workers have been reflecting on the plight of construction workers in the city after yet another accident last week. One such worker said that every day construction workers, many of whom are immigrants, are injured because negligent contractors provide poor quality scaffolding, broken ladders and dangerous machinery, even though supposedly bound by safety regulations. In some situations when workers are working at high elevations there is no safety protection provided at all.
The latest accident happened at a construction site in Manhattan, when a carpenter’s safety gear failed. He fell 15 feet resulting in him being admitted to hospital. The contractor was immediately issued with a perfunctory citation by the Department of Buildings for its failure to provide safeguards for all persons and property.
Although the construction industry is responsible for employing less than 4 percent of workers in New York, 20 percent of workplace deaths occur amongst this workforce, making it the city’s “deadliest industry,” according to a recent report concerning work-related deaths in New York reported by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).
Despite the fact that many construction sites inevitably have many unavoidable dangerous hazards such as potholes, working machinery and cranes carrying hazardous loads, NYCOSH states that most construction site accidents are preventable if the employer adhered to health and safety requirements.
Many victims of construction site deaths are Latinos. In 2012, 15 out of 38 fatalities in New York were Latino. It seems that the reason for this is that language barriers and lack of knowledge of workers’ rights to demand safety gear mean that immigrant workers are far more vulnerable to accidents than English-speaking workers. When a death or serious injury does occur, the family of the victim either does not know their rights when it comes to such things as workers’ compensation or filing an independent compensation claim or are unwilling to exert their rights.
If you or a member of your family have been a victim of a construction site accident and you know it was not your fault, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, but this is rarely enough to cover the expenses of a serious injury which could be life changing. You should not sit on the fence and spend all your life’s savings, but you should contact an experienced construction site accident lawyer in New York, such as Richard S. Jaffe Esq. who will assess your eligibility to file a compensation claim against the person who caused your injury.
A successful compensation claim will ensure you are covered fully for medical costs, rehabilitation expenses and lost income while you recover. Putting in such a claim makes your employer accountable too, which may mean he or she will be more careful when it comes to following legal safety requirements that help to prevent construction site accidents from taking place.
Contact the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.