Construction fatalities in New York City are on the rise, and negligent contractors could face higher fines. In case you missed any important developments, here’s a look at the latest cases and legal developments in New York and the rest of the country.
New York contractors could face bigger fines
People’s World says New York will fine contractors $500,000 when negligence results in death or serious injury. The change is part of a move to hold contractors accountable. People’s World explains that non-union contractors have been able to exploit non-union and undocumented migrant workers, and local prosecutors have been reluctant to go after contractors for political power. Construction Dive says Carlos’ law, signed into law in December, will increase the penalty by 50 times. An attorney cited in the article says this should only concern contractors who are negligent or reckless about worker safety.
The number of deaths in construction work in New York increased in 2022
According to the Commercial Observer, a Department of Buildings report reveals that 2022 was the deadliest year in New York City construction since 2019. The increase in fatalities may be due to an increase in construction activity rather than an increase in carelessness. According to the New York State Comptroller’s office, the COVID-19 pandemic caused construction industry growth to stall, particularly in New York State and New York City. Construction spending in New York City fell 8.5% between 2019 and 2020.
Subcontractor fined $128,132
According to The City, a subcontractor overseeing the construction of a Brooklyn high-rise has been hit with $128,132 in OSHA fines in connection with a fatal incident. The death occurred in November, when a construction worker fell to his death. The subcontractor was found to have violated federal workplace safety standards for failing to properly secure ladders and scaffolding fall protection. The city says construction safety advocates have described the fines as unusually high.
Fines are suggested after Cave-In Death
WFSB says OSHA has proposed a $375,021 fine related to a fatal cave-in at a construction site in Manchester, Connecticut. A worker died after a ditch caved in and buried him in dirt. An OSHA investigation determined that the company failed to provide the trench with a protection system to prevent collapse, failed to ensure that there was a means of safely exiting the trench, and failed to have a competent person perform inspections before and during work.
Two Boston contractors fined for damage
Boston 25 News says two contractors are facing hefty fines after a mezzanine floor collapse resulted in a construction worker losing his legs. A concrete mezzanine platform collapsed in May, and an OSHA investigation found that the contractors did not provide adequate demolition and asbestos protection. OSHA is proposing nearly $400,000 in penalties for willful and serious violations.
Traffic problems lead to referral
Work injuries are not the only reason for fines. WRAL says a contractor was fined $25,000 for causing a traffic jam Tuesday morning on I-440 in Raleigh. Construction took place overnight, but the contractor did not clear the road within the agreed time, contributing to heavy traffic and major delays the next morning.
Fake construction training cards
ENR New York says Odessa Safety, a Brooklyn-based company, offers training courses that enable construction workers to obtain the occupational safety certifications they need to work on large and complex New York City jobsites, and Odessa employees also do worker safety monitoring at different workplaces. Several complaints about bricks falling on cars, unsafe scaffolding, lack of demolition permits, lack of guardrails on the upper floors and other safety issues prompted inspections, resulting in violations against the contractor Odessa was tasked with overseeing. An undercover investigation has also led to charges against the owner for selling fake safety training certificates. ENR New York says cons like this have become a problem as fraudsters try to take advantage of New York City’s training requirements, which are designed to keep workers safe and prevent fatalities.
Are you keeping up with developments in safety and responsibility?
The construction industry continues to evolve and it is important to have a construction specialist risk management team on your side. That’s exactly what you’ll find at BNC Insurance. Read more.