The construction industry is booming in New York City, but a surge in injuries and fatalities has accompanied the increase in projects.
Mayor DeBlasio has approved more training hours for hardhat workers, which is one of several initiatives designed to make construction work safer.
A spate of accidents
Federal statistics indicate that construction is the most dangerous type of work in New York City. According to the Department of Buildings, 469 people sustained work-related injuries in construction accidents through July of this year, and eight fatalities occurred during the same time period.
In July, a live wire electrocuted a worker inside a residential building, while another worker died when a piece of scaffolding fell and struck him. In fact, DOB statistics show that at least 50 people, mostly hardhat workers, have sustained injuries by falling debris so far in 2018. In the Hudson Yards construction project, there have been at least 12 accident reports this year.
The DOB blamed "shoddy building framework" for an incident where a worker fell 40 feet to the ground. Fortunately, the hardhat survived but suffered a broken shoulder and back injuries. At a W. 33 Street site, the support strap on a pipe was cut. The pipe fell four feet, striking a workman in the head. These are only two examples of the accidents that have prompted Mayor DeBlasio to approve a requirement for additional training hours for hardhat workers. This follows a 2016 increase in the number of inspectors the DOB has hired plus an increase in the penalties imposed for lapses in safety measures.
Construction accidents can be extremely serious, and a worker may sustain severe or fatal injuries despite having taken extra training. Workers' compensation is available to provide financial aid, which may be an ongoing need. Many of those who suffer physical damages on the job can only look forward to long recoveries or to lives changed forever.