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Fatal construction accidents: New York City vs. New York State

Authorities want New York State to adopt a similar level of workplace safety standards as that of New York City. A recent study indicates that fatalities in construction accidents in the city numbered only 21 in 2016 -- four less than in the previous year. In contrast, the number of construction worker deaths that occurred in the remainder of the state in 2016 was 71, which is 16 more than in 2015, and the highest in 14 years.

Reportedly, the fatality rate in the state ranks New York among the top 10 states in which the most construction workers lost their lives in on-the-job accidents. Some believe this follows the increase in building activities and the decrease in the number of Occupational Safety and Health compliance inspectors. During this time, the efforts of the New York City Council in collaboration with the Department of Buildings and the office of the Manhattan District Attorney have brought about significant improvements in the safety culture of construction in New York City.

It is believed that the criminal charges that were filed against a construction company in 2015 after a 22-year-old worker died in a trench collapse led to the demand for stricter safety regulations. New regulations include requirements for 10- to 14-story projects to have a safety coordinator on site, and any buildings higher than that must have a safety manager present. Furthermore, construction workers who have not completed apprenticeships or have not received 100 hours of safety training will have to undergo 40 hours of such training within the next three years.

While the hopes of workers in this industry in New York State may be on more compliance with stricter safety regulations, they might still be concerned about how their families will cope if they should lose their lives in fatal construction accidents. They may find comfort in knowing that an experienced workers' compensation attorney will be there to help. A lawyer can assist any family with the navigation of claims for survivors' benefits that will cover end-of-life expenses and lost wages.

Source:, "Report: New York state construction fatalities hit 14-year high in 2016", Kim Slowey, Feb. 2, 2018

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