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Taking action to reduce construction industry injuries and fatalities

New York construction workers know better than anyone the many dangers in their line of work. From cranes to bulldozers and from nail guns to electrical lines, risks of construction worksite injuries are plentiful.

In order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities, construction workers and employers should both be ever-vigilant, a construction industry publication noted recently.

The article cites construction tragedies at a wastewater plant and a pair of football stadiums as examples of on-the-job accidents that wound up costing employers a lot of money, but costing workers their lives.

The publication points out that in some situations, prosecutors are taking a hard look at construction companies that knowingly put their workers into harm's way, risking injury or death.

There might well be an increasing inclination to press criminal charges against employers in those cases, as happened here in New York when the Manhattan District Attorney got a conviction after a trench collapse last year.

You might recall that a couple of months ago, a state Supreme Court judge found the firm guilty of manslaughter in the second degree, reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide in the death of the 22-year-old worker.

Not only are prosecutors looking increasingly carefully at construction industry accidents, but so is in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A new fine and penalty structure recently took effect, putting more pressure on construction firms to ensure worker safety.

No one yet knows what long-term impact criminal prosecutions and enhanced fines will have, but we do know that in far too many cases in which Newburgh construction workers are injured, an insurer will try to deny workers' compensation benefits. You can discuss an appeal of workers' comp benefits denial with an experienced attorney.

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