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Will stricter regulations prevent construction accidents?

Dozens of workers have died on construction sites in New York since the beginning of 2015. One of them was a 22-year-old worker who recently fell to his death down the shaft of an elevator in a condo tower under construction. Following the wave of construction accidents, some unions have managed to persuade the City Council to demand significantly more training hours for all construction workers.

Ten years ago, the mayor asked for a mandate that required 10 training hours for workers on projects that involved buildings of 10 stories of more. That was followed by the Buildings Department Commissioner requiring the presence of safety personnel on any project of four and more stories along with much steeper fines for violating contractors. Requiring 10 hours of training for all workers is also under consideration.

Safety authorities believe that stricter requirements for safety training can only benefit the industry. This is likely based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration records of fines issued for inadequate safety training that formed part of the enforcement in 40 percent of construction worker fatalities that were investigated in New York. The fact that this is the most commonly cited safety violation raises considerable concern.

Unfortunately, despite improved laws and safety requirements, construction accidents will likely continue to occur because some employers will always be tempted to prioritize profits over safety. Surviving family members of deceased victims of fatal construction injuries can pursue financial relief to help them cope with the high costs of funerals and burials, along with lost income. An experienced workers' compensation attorney is available to navigate any such claim on behalf of grieving family members.

Source: NY Daily News, "A better safety blueprint", Aug. 28, 2017

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