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New law may limit fatal New York construction workers’ accidents

Friday, May 19, 2017

Along with the construction boom in New York came an unacceptable death toll of workers that exceeded 30 over the past two years. Many believe that the majority of these construction workers’ accidents were preventable. In many cases, it is apparent that construction company owners prioritized profits over safety.

In the past, the City’s Department of Buildings (responsible for enforcing the building codes) was not obliged to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Department (responsible for enforcing safety regulations on worksites). In a move that might prevent many deaths, the New York Council recently passed several bills aimed at employee safety. One of these is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Notification Act by which the DOB must notify OSHA of hazardous construction sites, training and safety violations.

For too long the bureaucratic coordination failure has caused heartache to families whose loved ones were killed or injured on the job. With the restricted numbers of OSHA compliance officers, the agency will now be able to respond to reports of hazards that had already been identified by the DOB. The guaranteed coordination and communication between the two organizations might save many lives.

The fact that this coordination policy is now codified into the law is regarded as a significant step toward limiting construction workers’ accidents. Injured workers — and surviving families of those who died in on-the-job accidents — may find it comforting that the experienced support and guidance of New York workers’ compensation attorneys are available to navigate benefits claims for financial relief on their behalves. Benefits typically include medical expenses and lost income, and survivors’ benefits also cover end-of-life expenses along with an income package for covered dependents.

Source: timesledger.com, “Construction worker safety now a law“, Rory Lancman, May 5. 2017

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