NYC Healthcare Construction Jobs Increase Could Lead To More Accidents
Although many new NYC healthcare construction projects are bringing critically needed jobs during the pandemic, safety guidelines must still be closely followed to limit accidents. Between 2020 and 2023, NYC boroughs (except for Staten Island) should experience a thirty-eight percent (38%) increase in healthcare sector construction, costing about $9.4 billion.
That number reflects a slight increase over the $6.8 billion the city spent between 2016 and 2019. Many of the new buildings will be constructed in the Bronx and Brooklyn. All OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) officials and construction site managers must keep enforcing all basic safety measures – while also requiring all workers to wear COVID-19 masks and stay socially distanced from each other whenever possible.
Here is a general overview of the many types of accidents and injuries that cause so many workers to miss valuable time on their New York City construction jobs each year.
Most common causes of NYC construction worker injuries reported each year
- Falls caused by the inadequate provision of PPE (personal protection equipment). When PPE is not readily available to workers, many of them suffer serious and even deadly falls each year. Similar accidents also occur when workers fall due to the lack of protective guardrails in all elevated areas of each construction site. Improperly constructed stairways and walkways also contribute to large numbers of annual falls and deaths.
- Deep cuts and serious lacerations. These often occur when workers either fail to wear adequate gloves or are working on pieces of equipment that do not have adequate machine safeguards.
- Head and body injuries caused by falling objects. Poorly trained and unlicensed forklift and crane operators often drop large and small objects from great heights. Studies have shown that even regular-sized tape measures and other similar objects can inflict major harm to workers when dropped from great heights on construction sites.
- Poorly designed electrical systems can cause construction employees to suffer deadly electrocutions or permanent disabilities.
- A wide variety of serious skin burns. While some of these are caused by poorly managed fires on construction sites, others occur when hazardous materials are mislabeled. Too many workers suffer severe eye and skin burns — along with respiratory problems — while using damaging liquids and other substances in poorly marked containers.
- Improperly constructed scaffolding. Construction site supervisors and managers must make sure only qualified workers put up and take down the scaffolding. They must also make sure that adequate guardrails are built around scaffolds at higher levels.
- Slips and falls off poorly maintained ladders. When ladders are not cleaned and stored properly in between uses, rusty parts can stop working properly – causing many falls.
- Inadequate first aid training for all workers. Every construction site must provide adequate first aid kits and sinks with running water so that injured workers can at least get the initial care they will need after suffering serious cuts and other injuries. At least one or two supervisors must make sure that these kits are properly upgraded, along with new supplies, on a regular basis. All workers must also be reminded to immediately summon a supervisor and call 9-1-1 when a coworker suffers a major injury.
Many other serious accidents often involve the many different types of vehicles that are daily driven onto construction sites to deliver general building materials and crucial pieces of equipment.
Types of injuries frequently reported by many construction site workers
- Serious head and traumatic brain injuries. While many workers are fortunate enough to recover from some of these blows to the head, others often face years of rehabilitation and cognitive therapy. Some of them can return to work – while others must cope with simply relearning how to care of themselves.
- Painful back and neck injuries. Constantly lifting heavy objects and handling large tools can place tremendous burdens on workers’ bodies.
- Spinal cord injuries. Besides suffering bad falls, workers can also develop these after forklift operators and others accidentally ram them into sides of buildings or other vehicles while maneuvering their loads.
- Respiratory infections. All construction workers forced to work in poorly ventilated areas (or around toxic liquids and fumes) must be provided with high-quality respirators during every shift.
- Crush injuries. Trench accidents and wall collapse frequently trap workers under heavy loads of mud and other debris, making it hard to rescue them before they suffocate to death.
- A wide variety of bone fractures. While a broken arm might be the only injury suffered by a worker during a trench wall collapse, others employed on a construction site may have to cope with fractured fingers caused by machine guards that slip out of locked positions.
Several key safety precautions that must be observed on every construction site
- Safety drills must be mandator Workers must be shown were all the emergency exits are located throughout the construction site — in case of sudden dangerous winds, storms, fires, or explosions. Whenever possible, safe areas must be maintained where workers can gather during emergencies (especially when there’s not adequate time for them to exit the premises).
- OSHA posters about the right to file safety complaints must be displayed in employee locker room areas. Although many workers are afraid to file these forms, they must be told that there are legal protections provided to those who file complaints when their supervisors fail to remedy workplace dangers.
- Workers who appear greatly fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs should never be allowed to clock-in for new work shifts. A large percentage of construction site injuries occur when workers try to work two jobs or too many shifts within a short timeframe.
If you have suffered a serious construction accident injury, you need to contact our New York City construction accident injury law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available for you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.