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The federal government has compiled its workplace safety statistics for 2016, and, once again, construction was among the most dangerous workplaces in America. After several years of declining injuries and deaths, the number of accidents and fatalities has seen an uptick in recent years. According to OSHA, 2016 was no different, since the number of deaths occurring in construction workplaces shot up to nearly 1,000, or the highest since 2007. As has been true for several years, a majority of these fatal cases (63%) were results of a small handful of accident types, sometimes known as the “fatal four.” Whatever led to the construction accident that injured you or a loved one, one thing you should make sure you do is contact an experienced New York construction accident attorney, who can help you seek the recovery you deserve.
More than one-third of the 991 construction fatalities from 2016 were results of falls. Another 93 victims (or nearly 10%) were killed as a result of falling objects. More than 8% died as a result of electrocutions, and more than 7% died as a result of “caught in/between” accidents, which is a type of accident that OSHA defines as when a worker is “caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material.” As the OSHA report correctly points out, eradicating just these four types of accidents would have meant 631 fewer construction deaths in 2016.
A lot of times, a factor in construction accidents is a lack of proper equipment and adequate protection. Of all of the OSHA violations that occurred in 2016, the agency’s list of the top 10 most common violations included issues with fall protection, scaffolding, respiratory protection, ladders, and training requirements for fall protection.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found a common theme was a lack of proper protection. Of workers who suffered head injuries, 84 percent weren’t wearing a hard hat or other head protection. 60 percent of the workers who suffered eye injuries weren’t wearing eye protection. 70 percent of those who suffered hand injuries weren’t wearing gloves. 77 percent of workers suffering foot injuries weren’t wearing safety shoes or boots, and fully 99 percent of those who experienced face injuries weren’t wearing face protection.
Another source of accidents is distractions. In 2013, Michigan State University reported on research it performed that showed that a distraction lasting just 2.8 seconds doubles the chances of that worker making a mistake. A 4.4-second distraction triples the chances of an error. The year before, researchers at Harvard Medical School concluded that inadequate sleep caused 274,000 accidents every year, according to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.
Furthermore, inadequate training is also frequently an issue. Tsasafety.com reported that a recent study of New York construction deaths showed that more than two-thirds of fatal construction accidents involved an employer “who did not participate in state-approved training and apprenticeships.”
There are several ways to improve safety at construction worksites. These include placing greater focus on personal protective equipment (like hard hats, goggles, etc.), as well as proper training, in addition to reducing distractions like cell phones.
In other words, there are many possible shortcomings that can play a role in a construction accident.
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If you’ve been hurt while working in construction, the diligent New York City scaffolding accident attorneys at the law offices of Jacob Oresky have been helping injured workers and their families throughout the New York metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island, for many years. Find out how we can help you meet your needs.
If you need legal assistance, contact the Bronx construction accident lawyers at Oresky & Associates, PLLC at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation. Contact us online or call our office. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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