Accidents on Construction Sites

Posted on January 9, 2024 by Eric Richman, Esq.

Worker stretching the red-white warning tape to the pole at a construction site, accidents on construction sites

Construction sites are filled with dangers, such as towering scaffolds, toxic materials, electricity, and powerful machinery. Construction workers face significant risks, particularly when site owners and managers fail to comply with safety regulations. 

Construction workers account for about 6% of the total labor force in New York City. However, they also account for nearly 30% of all work-related fatalities. These statistics emphasize the importance of risk management in this line of work.

This page’s content is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. Clients and others who receive this content should not act or refrain from acting based on the content of this website without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from a licensed attorney on the specific facts and circumstances at issue.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence and want to learn more about accidents on construction sites in NYC, Eric Righman, Esq. is here to help. Click to Call Us at 800-801-9655 or request a free consultation online.

Common Types of Construction Accidents

Data from sources such as OSHA investigation case files and the New York City Health Department Bureau of Vital Statistics paint a bleak picture of construction workers’ daily dangers. It emphasizes the importance of strict safety measures to protect workers on the job. 

It’s also important to note that your legal or immigration status is irrelevant to a lawsuit.

If you are undocumented or working “off the books,” your employer still owes you a duty of care.  Construction employers may try to exploit people with no visa or working papers. Don’t let them. Some construction sites refuse to provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or any safety equipment at all because their workers are undocumented.

Your accident has nothing to do with your legal status in the country. Don’t let a boss or employer intimidate or bully you into thinking otherwise.

The most common unintentional injuries among NYC construction workers are listed below.

Unintentional Injuries Among NYC Construction Workers
FallingFalling accidents are the most common construction accidents in New York and nationally. 
Crushed/StruckCrushed or struck injuries occur due to being struck by or trapped beneath falling objects or equipment.
ElectrocutionOn-site electrocution can be caused by contact with live electrical wires or components.
Hazardous MaterialWhile less common than other types of injury, construction workers can be injured when exposed to toxic substances on site.

Source: Data compiled from the New York City Health Department and OSHA fatality investigation case files covering 2007–2014.

Falling Accidents

Falling accidents are the most common type of injury for construction workers, accounting for more than half (58%) of fatal unintentional injuries among construction workers. In New York City, falls from scaffolds (25%), ladders (16%), and roofs (11%) are particularly lethal. 

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) underscores this hazard, noting that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, both locally and nationwide. In 2022 alone, falls constituted over one-third of construction-related fatalities across the country.

Crushed/Struck Accidents

Being crushed or struck causes a significant number of accidents on construction sites, with as many as 32% of fatal unintentional injuries in construction resulting from being struck, crushed, or caught between objects or equipment.

These incidents often involve workers getting compressed or trapped by heavy machinery, such as cranes and forklifts. This category also includes tragedies like workers being struck by or caught in collapsing structures, equipment, or materials.

Electrical Accidents

Another serious hazard on construction sites is contact with live wires or electrical systems. While these accidents are less common than falls or crush injuries, they pose their own set of risks, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

Hazardous Material Exposure

Chemicals and hazardous materials are frequently used on construction sites. Contact with such substances can have either immediate or long-term health consequences, including respiratory issues, skin conditions, and other serious medical conditions.

Negligence in Accidents on Construction Sites

Negligence on construction sites is defined as a breach of duty of care. It is frequently cited as the root cause of construction accidents and injuries. When negligence is to blame for a workplace accident, the injured party may be able to seek legal recourse. For your consideration, we’ve listed the most common types of negligence in construction accidents below.

Improper Training and Education

Accidents can occur when construction workers are not adequately trained and educated on workplace hazards and safety procedures. Negligence is frequently found when training programs are outdated, incomplete, or completely ignored.

Lack of Safety Gear and Protections

Employers are responsible for providing appropriate PPE or safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and eye protection. The absence of appropriate equipment, particularly in hazardous working conditions, clearly shows negligence. 

Not Marking Unsafe Areas

All potentially hazardous areas on a construction site must be clearly marked. This includes wet floors, overhead hazards, and areas where protective gear is required. Failure to do so can result in accidents on construction sites. 

Inadequate Supervision

Experienced supervisors must be present to enforce safety rules and respond to any issues. Negligence may occur if accidents occur due to a lack of supervision or if supervisors fail to enforce safety regulations. Further, when employers or supervisors fail to communicate known hazards, it can be interpreted as negligence. 

Non-Compliance with Industry Standards

The construction industry has clear standards and regulations that must be followed. Ignoring these guidelines is not only illegal but also constitutes negligence.

Determining Liability and Responsibility

Determining who is at fault can be challenging when accidents occur on construction sites. Several individuals or entities involved in the operation and management of the workplace may bear liability. For many cases, liability will typically rest on the shoulders of: 

  • Site Owners: Owners may be liable for unsafe conditions on the property
  • Contractors/Subcontractors: Responsible for ensuring safe working practices
  • Equipment Manufacturers: Could be held liable for defective machinery or tools
  • Other Third Parties: Including negligent non-employees or external companies
  • All of the Above: An accident is frequently caused by more than one person or company. A misconception is that only one boss can be sued. However, it is common for multiple parties to be negligent on a construction site. All of them could be responsible for your accident and injuries.

You should consult a licensed attorney if you’ve been injured on a construction site and believe negligence is a factor. Eric Richman, Esq. can help you determine whether your accident resulted from negligence and whether you are eligible for compensation.

Steps to Take After a Construction Accident
Seek Medical AttentionGet prompt medical care for your injuries. Call an ambulance or 911. If you can’t and can still communicate, ask a coworker to call an ambulance.
Report the AccidentNotify your supervisor or site manager immediately.
Document EverythingTake pictures of the accident site and collect witness statements.
Maintain RecordsKeep a detailed record of medical treatments and related expenses.

Contact The Law Offices of Eric Richman for a Free Consultation

Accidents on construction sites are often the start of a chain of life-changing events. Identifying negligence and knowing when to seek legal counsel are critical first steps. If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, it is strongly advised that you consult with a legal expert to protect your rights.

If you need guidance on handling accidents on construction sites in New York City,  we can help. The Law Offices of Eric Richman provides compassionate, expert legal representation for the New York City Area. Call us at 800-801-9655 to discuss your case or request a free consultation online.

The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Viewing or interacting with this content does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Eric Richman, and any communications through this platform do not constitute confidential or privileged information. For personalized legal guidance on your specific personal injury case, please contact our firm to schedule a consultation.

Contact Us Today

The Law Office of Eric Richman embraces this individualized approach. Your initial contact connects you directly with Eric, who will provide a fair, impartial case assessment. If you’re unable to travel, he’ll come to you.

In the face of life-changing injuries due to negligence, a legal team well-versed in complex personal injury cases is crucial. Reach out to the Law Office of Eric Richman to find out if we can assist.

Request a Free ConsultationCall 800-801-9655