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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace accident kills window washer when fall protection fails

Window washers in New York put their lives on the line every day. The biggest hazard they face is indeed falling, and one would expect the employer of any window washer to be aware of the importance of, not only providing fall protection but ensuring that it is always in mint condition and replaced when it starts showing wear and tear. A fatal workplace accident that involves a malfunctioning fall harness should not happen.

Sadly, it did happen. On a recent Monday, shortly before 10:30 a.m., a 56-year-old window washer fell to his death. Reportedly, he was on a raised platform, busy cleaning the windows of the 12th story of a building in Midtown when his fall harness apparently malfunctioned. The interior courtyard landing on the building's 6th floor broke his fall, but could not save his life.

Lack of proper planning could cause fatal construction accidents

When construction projects in New York are in the planning stage, developers should assess potential hazards and address those in advance. This particularly applies when projects include demolition, or for redevelopment projects. Being prepared may prevent fatal construction accidents like the one that happened in Poughkeepsie on a recent Thursday.

Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be examining the circumstances of the tragedy to determine whether this death could have been prevented by following safety regulations. This project is the redevelopment of a lumber yard into a commercial complex that will also include some apartments. Reportedly, the incident happened soon after a massive load of soil was delivered to the site.

Electric shock will be covered by workers' compensation benefits

A power failure shortly before noon on a recent Wednesday occurred after residents of a New York town in Erie County heard a loud bang. They rushed outside to hear utility workers of National Grid screaming for someone to call 911 for help. It was then determined that one employee had suffered an electric shock. Such injuries likely lead to workers' compensation benefits claims.

According to a report by police, a lineman was working on the installation of a power pole when he suffered an electric shock. Paramedics transported him to a trauma center for treatment of his injuries. It is unknown what caused the worker to be shocked, and the company said a full investigation would be launched.

Safety training can prevent workplace accidents involving teens

This is the time of the year when many young workers enter the New York workforce -- as permanent employees in their first jobs, or teens taking on temp jobs for the summer. Every year there are reports of teen workers who die in tragic workplace accidents within days of starting employment. In most cases, these deaths result from a lack of safety training and/or inadequate supervision.

Employers don't always realize that the combination of youth, inexperience and a sense of invincibility makes teenage workers vulnerable. To prevent such tragedies, safety authorities say that teen workers must be fully briefed on their duties and the potential safety risks before they are allocated any tasks. Furthermore, even if they will only be there for the summer, full safety training must be provided.

Some workplace accidents cause irreversible harm to exposed eyes

A worker may say his injury happened in the blink of an eye. However, if properly fitted safety glasses protected those eyes, they could have blinked all day without being harmed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the eyes of approximately 2,000 workers are damaged in workplace accidents every day, adding up to over 700,000 per year. Many of those occur in New York.

The alarming fact is these type of eye injuries are so easy to prevent -- it takes only a pair of safety glasses. Unfortunately, many employers fail to enforce the use of them and allow employees to choose when to wear eye protection. However, even if workers are forced to wear safety glasses, the safety gear will not prevent eye injuries if they do not fit properly -- considering approximately 70 percent of reported eye injuries were caused by particles no bigger than a pin's head.

Workplace accidents: Eye protection vital PPE for landscapers

Authorities say several of the safety hazards in the landscaping industry can cause severe damage to workers' eyes. Employers in this field can prevent many workplace accidents by providing employees with eye protection and by making sure that they wear it. Along with the risk of getting dangerous chemicals in their eyes, there are the hazards posed by flying objects -- from stones to pieces of wood, twigs or bark.

Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that work-related eye injuries nationwide, including in New York, exceed 20,000 every year -- with many of them leading to several days off work. However, some such injuries can have devastating consequences. A 33-year-old landscaper explained how he almost lost sight in his right eye when he failed to wear eye protection while edging the sidewalk.

Serious injuries caused when wall collapses at construction site

The construction industry in New York and elsewhere continue to report preventable on-the-job accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is part of an investigation into an incident that caused serious injuries to a construction worker. The site where the accident occurred is a residential home under construction in a neighboring state.

According to authorities, the injured victim -- a 35-year-old man -- was airlifted from the scene in serious condition, though he is expected to survive. Reportedly, the worker's injuries were caused when a cement foundation wall collapsed at approximately 10:30 on a recent Monday morning. The worker was trapped under the wall.

Roof collapse lead to construction worker's serious injuries

The New York Department of Buildings stopped work at a Queens residential home construction site on a recent Wednesday after a construction accident occurred there on the previous day. Building materials weighing thousands of pounds fell onto three workers when the building's roof collapsed, causing serious injuries to one. The workers were members of a construction crew who were adding another story to an existing two-story residence.

Authorities say a crane loaded construction materials onto the building's roof when they suspect the massive weight caused the partial roof collapse. Three workers were in the area when the rubble came crashing through the roof. One worker, age 37, managed to escape the building without being trapped while a 40-year-old employee was briefly trapped.

Malfunctioning construction elevator causes serious injuries

The New York Department of Buildings recently issued an order to stop work on a part of the construction site on Pier 57. This is the planned construction project that may ultimately house the high-profile Anthony Bourdain food market, which is scheduled for completion in 2019. Authorities say safety measures were not instituted and that led to an employee suffering serious injuries.

The circumstances that led to the workplace accident are unclear, and little information was made available. Reportedly, a construction worker was on an elevator that unexpectedly malfunctioned, causing it to fall and pin the worker against a wall. Firefighters of FDNY rushed to the scene to extricate the employee.

Construction accidents in New York -- 1 more dead

Along with his loved ones, the musicians that shared good times with a drummer by night and a surveyor by day are saddened by his tragic death in a workplace accident. As with all fatal construction accidents, the New York City's Buildings Department issued an immediate stop-work order at the site where a 69-story construction is underway. The order applies to only one of the six high-rise buildings that form part of a Manhattan West project.

Reportedly, a 16th-story platform on which the employee was standing collapsed, causing his 10-floor fall onto the sixth floor. What exacerbates the tragedy of this man's death is the fact that he was working toward creating a cocoon system that would prevent or protect fall victims. Sadly, this is also the system that would likely have saved his life.

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