New York Construction Accident Statistics

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

Understanding construction accident statistics in NY is crucial to developing preventive measures that will help make the construction industry safer.

Construction industry accident data is also essential to raising workers’ awareness of the risks and hazards they face, their legal rights to demand a healthy and safe work environment from their employers, and their right to claim compensation for a work-related accident.

Before we dig deep into construction site accident statistics in NY, you need to know that if you suffer a construction accident, it is crucial to seek help from a legal firm specializing in winning compensation for injured construction workers, like Gorayeb & Associates. We provide services in English and Spanish, offer a free consultation to evaluate your case, and work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only get paid if you win, and we get paid a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation. You never pay us out of pocket.

OSHA’s Fatal Four

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction injury statistics, four types of accidents account for over 60% of the fatal construction accidents reported annually. These types of accidents are called “The Fatal Four.”

1: Falls

The main preventive measures against falls are:

  • Properly using and maintaining personal fall arrest equipment.
  • Installing and maintaining perimeter protections.
  • Covering and securing floor openings and labeling the covers of these openings.
  • Using ladders and scaffolds safely and following OSHA standards.

2: Struck-By

The main preventive measures against struck-bys are:

  • Avoid positioning yourself between moving and fixed objects.
  • Wear high-visibility clothing near equipment and vehicles.

3: Caught-In/Between 

The main preventive measures against caught-ins are:

  • Do not enter trenches or excavations 5 feet deep or more without an adequate protective system; some trenches less than 5 feet deep may also require a safety system.
  • Ensure that trenches or excavations are protected using sloping, shoring, benching, or other trench protection systems.

4: Electrocutions

The main preventive measures against electrocutions at a construction site are:

  • Locate and identify electrical outlets and power lines before starting work.
  • Be aware of overhead power lines when operating any equipment.
  • Maintain a safe distance from power lines according to safety distance requirements.
  • Do not use portable electric tools unless they are grounded or double-insulated.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters for protection.
  • When working with ladders, scaffolds, or other platforms, stay alert to electrical hazards.

OSHA’s Fatal Four is based on broad studies involving all construction worker injury rates in the country. This approach is essential for identifying and addressing the main causes of serious and fatal construction accidents in the country. However, NY has its own statistics, tighter regulations, and labor laws.

Construction Industry Accident Data in NY

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction work is the most dangerous job in N.Y., especially for vulnerable populations like Latino Immigrants. The following construction site safety statistics perfectly illustrate the dangers of construction work:

  • The number of work accident fatalities in New York City has increased over the past three years.
  • In 2022, 83 workers died as a result of work-related accidents in N.Y.
  • Falls, slips, and trips accounted for 21 deaths, while exposure to harmful substances or environments resulted in 19 deaths.
  • The private construction industry in New York had the highest number of fatalities, with 23, followed by the transportation and warehousing sector, with 15.
  • Men represented 95% of work-related fatalities in the city, similar to the national proportion.
  • Hispanic or Latino workers made up 40% of workplace deaths in the city, compared to 23% nationally.
  • The majority of fatalities involved workers aged 25 to 54, representing 63% of deaths in the city.
  • In New York, 94% of fatal workplace injuries involved wage and salary workers, and 6% were self-employed.

Construction Industry Growth

According to the latest NY City Construction Safety Report, which used data from 2022, the construction industry is growing. Here are some key figures:

  • Increase in Construction Activity: Construction activity increased in all city neighborhoods, recovering from the pandemic-related lows in 2020.
  • Initial Permits: Initial permits increased by 11% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
  • New Building Projects: There was a significant 122% increase in permits for new building projects.
  • Brooklyn Leads in Projects: Brooklyn leads with 1,176 permitted projects, followed by Staten Island with 954 permits, mainly for single-family homes.
  • Demolition Permits: Initial demolition permits saw a 15% increase compared to the previous year.
  • Final Certificates of Occupancy: The number of final certificates of occupancy for completed projects increased by over 9% compared to the previous year.

These statistics show the increase in construction activity and, with it, the hazards to which workers are exposed. With increased construction activity, the city has also seen increased construction accident rates and worker fatalities. The combination of both trends underscores the importance of enhancing safety measures and regulations to save lives by prioritizing workers’ safety.

Construction Fatalities Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 24 construction trade workers died as a result of a workplace accident in 2022. The overwhelming majority of these fatalities were due to worker’s falls; the number one hazard construction workers face on work sites. The following accounts detail some of the occupational accidents in construction that lead to workers’ deaths:

  • Brooklyn Heights: A worker fell from the roof of a building after losing balance near the edge of the parapet.
  • Prospect Heights: A worker on a scaffold fell approximately thirteen feet after losing balance between the scaffold and a fire escape, landing on a metal fence.
  • Ridgewood: A worker fell twenty feet through an opening while removing wooden formwork, landing in the basement.
  • Kew Gardens: A worker fell thirty feet to the ground after losing balance while trying to access a suspended scaffold from a fire escape.
  • East Village: During the installation of wooden planks on metal beams on the roof, a worker fell approximately fifteen feet and hit his head.
  • Crown Heights: A worker fell from the top level of a scaffold while removing wooden planks, suffering fatal injuries.
  • Fort Greene: A worker fell twenty feet at the work site after losing balance while installing a beam for a sidewalk shed.
  • Upper West Side: A worker installing safety nets around a scaffold fell from the 15th floor to the roof of a sidewalk shed below.
  • Borough Park: A construction worker performing waterproofing work on a residence’s roof fell approximately 35 feet to the ground.
  • Greenpoint: While moving metal posts with an excavator equipped with a lifting boom attachment, the boom detached and fell on a worker.
  • Mount Hope: During cleanup operations near an excavator, the arm of the machine detached, hitting the worker on the head with the excavator bucket.

These fatal accidents share a common element: the workers lacked the necessary safety measures to perform their work without risks. Most construction worker fatalities are considered preventable by OSHA and are the employer’s responsibility per NY City Laws. Most of these cases could have been considered wrongful death due to negligence. In these tragic cases, the victim’s families can file damages claims. A lawyer specializing in fatal accident claims can obtain various compensation to help families navigate their grieving process without financial worries.

Construction Worker Serious Non-Fatal Accidents Report

Most construction worker deaths can be prevented by following OSHA’s standards, which require employers to provide safe working conditions, equipment, and training. The latest New York City Construction Safety Report highlights accidents where proper safety equipment and training saved workers’ lives. These cases reveal that safety measures have a direct impact on saving lives. The NY government report highlights the following four cases as examples:

  • Elmhurst: A worker was saved by a safety harness after falling from a platform while working on a new 15-story building.
  • Upper West Side: An excavator overturned when the ramp it was climbing collapsed, but no injuries occurred thanks to the trained worker’s quick response to put the vehicle in a vertical position.
  • Claremont Village: A worker was accidentally lifted to the seventh floor by a hydraulic pulley, suffering injuries and being immediately transported to the hospital, which saved his life.
  • Gowanus: The collapse of a needle scaffold caused three workers to fall about 10 feet, resulting in injuries that required hospitalization. Prompt medical attention was crucial in these cases.

These incidents underscore the critical role of safety equipment and training in preventing fatalities and mitigating serious injuries in the construction industry.

Preventive Measures to Reduce Construction Accidents

To prevent construction accidents and ensure the industry is as safe as possible, the New York City Department of Buildings implements measures that penalize companies failing to comply with safety regulations for their workers. In 2022, these measures included the suspension of thousands of construction sites across the following areas:

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  • Bronx: 1,130 suspensions
  • Brooklyn: 4,236 suspensions
  • Manhattan: 539 suspensions
  • Queens: 2,289 suspensions
  • Staten Island: 325 suspensions

Additionally, the following preventive measures were executed:

  • Increased Unannounced Monitoring Inspections: There was a 55% increase in unannounced monitoring inspections on larger and more complex projects required to meet additional site safety requirements in 2022 compared to 2021, with 21,011 inspections.
  • Updated SST Cards Requirement: Workers at large and complex construction sites are required to complete Site Safety Training (SST). Employers have to ensure their workers have SST cards to employ them. As of March 18, 2023, only updated SST cards issued through the NYC DOB Training Connect platform are accepted. These cards include an NFC chip to validate authenticity and prevent fraud.
  • SST Card Acquisition: The number of NYC DOB Training Connect SST cards obtained has increased since early 2023, with 259,625 construction workers possessing an SST card to date.

These measures highlight the city’s commitment to enhancing safety protocols and ensuring construction companies adhere to the required standards to protect their workers. For the City of New York, workplace safety in construction is a priority.

What is an SST Card?

The SST (Site Safety Training) card is a certification that proves the completion of essential safety training for construction and demolition workers at certain sites regulated by the New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB).

During a transition period of implementing new SST card requirements, DOB issued temporary and limited cards. As of March 1, 2021, a full SST card is required to be hired at large and complex construction sites. Construction workers must complete 40 hours of training, and some supervisors need 62 hours of training to get an SST card.

Who Needs an SST Card?

Any construction or demolition worker on sites that require a Site Safety Plan (SSP) in New York City’s five boroughs needs an SST card appropriate to their role. Employers who hire workers without cards are liable to penalties.

Resources at the Gorayeb Community Center

At Gorayeb Community Center, we offer a variety of valuable resources for New York construction workers. Our services include providing information about training courses that offer the opportunity to obtain an SST card. Our goal is to ensure that workers are properly trained and comply with safety regulations to work safely in New York City.

What to Do If You Have a Construction Site Accident

Construction Work is the second deadliest job in the U.S. and the deadliest in New York City. Although most fatalities can be prevented by following OSHA’s standards, accidents can still happen even in the safest workplaces.

The construction industry, known for its high occupational risks, requires a commitment to accident prevention and a clear action plan for when accidents occur. These safety protocols must be known to everyone working on the construction site.

Knowing what to do in case of a construction accident is essential for ensuring personal and coworkers’ safety and protecting the legal rights of the victims, which can be critical for their recovery and life after an incident. Taking the correct actions can make a significant difference between receiving fair compensation or not. Here are the essential steps you should know and take into account after a construction site accident:

1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention

  • Health is the most important priority. If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or going to the nearest medical facility. Some injuries may take days or weeks to show symptoms, even if you feel fine. You may lose the opportunity to receive fair compensation without an immediate medical diagnosis.

2. Report Your Injury

  • It is crucial to inform your supervisor or the safety office on-site as soon as possible. Documenting the accident is essential for the compensation claim process. Keep a copy of the report you make to your employer, preferably through text message or email.

3. Document the Accident

  • If your injuries allow, document the accident. Note everything you remember about how the accident occurred, including the time, place, and any unusual conditions in the work environment. Collect the names and contact information of coworkers or anyone else present who can corroborate your account. Take photographs of the accident circumstances. For example, if you were injured due to a defective structure, take pictures of those structures. Also, take photos of your injuries. This evidence should only be shared with your lawyer and not posted on social media or shared with your supervisors or insurance companies under any circumstances.

4. Keep Medical Documentation

  • Retain all medical records. Keep copies of all medical reports, treatments, and prescriptions. These documents are essential to demonstrate the nature and extent of your injuries. Follow the treatments recommended by healthcare professionals and document any changes in your physical well-being.

Contact Gorayeb & Associates

Obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve after a construction worker accident can take evaluating your case, conducting an investigation, negotiating with insurance companies, and even litigating. Workers who hire specialized lawyers tend to receive more compensation than workers who don’t. It’s crucial to have the advice of a legal firm specialized in construction accidents with proven experience winning cases like yours to evaluate your case and claim the maximum possible compensation.

At Gorayeb & Associates, we have over 35 years of experience defending construction workers, ensuring the liable parties pay compensation that allows them to:

  • Cover their medical expenses
  • Cover their rehabilitation costs
  • Obtain reimbursement for lost wages
  • Receive payments for pain and suffering (a legal term referring to psychological or emotional injuries resulting from the accident, such as stress, depression, or anxiety attacks)

We have won over 1 billion dollars in compensation for our clients. Our legal team speaks English and Spanish and provides assistance at any time, every day of the year.

Construction accident statistics in New York reveal that it is the most dangerous industry in the city. If you or a family member suffer a construction accident, you have the right to claim fair compensation regardless of your immigration status. The team at Gorayeb & Associates is here to help you. Request your free consultation today.

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

Information verified by Attorney Christopher J. Gorayeb

Founder of Gorayeb & Associates, P.C.

As one of the most preeminent personal injury lawyers in New York City, Christopher J. Gorayeb brings over 35 years of experience in litigating construction accident cases to the law firm.

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