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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

What Every Construction Worker Should Know About Workplace Accidents

Construction never stops in NYC. Whether it is through rain, snow, sleet, or freezing ice storms, work sites remain open and construction teams continue to go about their jobs, building and maintaining our great city. Long Island workplace accident lawyers see all sorts of injuries each year, and construction workers make up a big percentage of those.

According to the Department of Labor, 5,190 workers died on the job in 2016. Over 21% were in the construction trades. Winter time presents a host of special hazards that you should keep in mind. For instance, construction sites see a marked increase in the following types of injuries in the winter:

Falling Objects (Including Ice From Buildings)

Winter means limited visibility and fewer daylight hours. So, it should not be surprising that there are more injuries due to falling objects during that time. The sun can set quickly, leaving workers on elevated platforms working in the dark, hurried and trying to rush to complete jobs and go home. Likewise, New York City seems to always have a number of construction site injuries due to ice sheets falling from buildings and scaffolds. Be sure to keep a flashlight handy, and insist upon having good lighting in place before doing any work, especially in high locations. Always wear appropriate head protection on a work site.

Slip and Falls

Winter also means ice, slush, snow, and generally slippery conditions. Work sites are no exception. When temperatures drop quickly, workers may find themselves slipping and having difficulty getting good traction. Always make sure you are wearing good, non-slip work boots. Consider packing a set of traction cleats on days when ice is possible. They are relatively inexpensive and slide over your boots, and they help you navigate icy or frozen surfaces.

Vehicle Collisions

As snow and ice continue to fall in Long Island, drivers will collide. For construction workers who must drive for work, hazardous weather means a dramatic increase in motor vehicle accidents. Use caution, drive slowly, remain sober at all times, and do not use a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Frostbite and “Trench Foot”

Frostbite occurs when the skin and underlying tissue freeze and cells die. In minor cases, it can lead to nerve damage and hypersensitivity, but in more severe cases, frostbite can lead to the loss of fingers and toes. Always be aware of your own body. If you are losing sensation in toes or fingers, then you are probably not wearing the right gear for the conditions. Trench foot happens when your feet get cold and wet and stay that way for a long time. Trench foot is extremely painful and can lead to blisters, ulcers, gangrene, and even the loss of toes or a whole foot.

Preventing trench foot is fairly easy, though. Make sure you have dry socks, weather resistant boots, and if your feet become soaked, take a few minutes to change into dry socks. This means that you may need to think about planning ahead and packing extra socks if you know you will be working on an especially boggy or wet work site.

Compensation for Workplace Injuries in Long Island

 In general, most employees are eligible for workers’ compensation in New York. However, there are specific laws that apply to construction workers.

  • NY Labor Law, Section 200: Provides for compensation if a property owner or contractor are negligent in maintaining a safe workplace.
  • NY Labor Law, Section 240: The NY Scaffold Law protects workers who are injured on the scaffolding or other elevated apparatus, due to things like falls, falling objects, defective scaffolding construction, and so forth.
  • NY Labor Law, Section 241: Under this section of the law, contractors are given clear expectations for maintaining property and equipment used in construction sites.

Long Island Construction Accident Lawyers Fight for Fair Compensation After a Workplace Accident

Do not assume that your employer or the contractor in charge of your job will do the right thing. Make sure you are represented by a Long Island personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance company. If you have been hurt on the job on Long Island or NYC, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to set up a free case evaluation 24/7.

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