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The recent crane accident that sent a giant air-conditioning unit falling 30 stories into a Madison Avenue building is but the latest example in a worryingly dangerous year for the construction industry, according to the New York Times. Figures show that construction accidents in New York City are on the rise and that construction-related fatalities for 2015 alone already equal the whole of 2014. While contractors claim the increase in accidents is simply a result of more construction projects, critics say a lax attitude towards safety among some contractors is contributing to the rise.
The most recent accident involved a 23,000-pound air conditioner that was being lifted by a crane to the 29th floor. While the investigation into the incident is ongoing, witnesses say that the giant unit fell from the crane, causing significant damage to a Madison Avenue building, which was subsequently evacuated.
Remarkably there no fatalities associated with the accident, although ten people, including two construction workers, received minor injuries, according to USA Today. The accident is now being investigated to determine whether the cause of the crane’s failure was mechanical or human in nature.
As the New York Times reports, however, the latest accident is hardly unusual. Construction-related accidents are rising in New York City, with 231 such accidents in 2014, representing a 24 percent increase from 2013. Fatalities related to construction accidents are also rising and are at their highest levels since 2008. So far in 2015 eight people have lost their lives in construction accidents, which is equal to all such deaths in 2014. In comparison, in 2013 just three people died in construction-related accidents in the city.
Contractors claim that the increase does not mean the industry is becoming more dangerous but is just the effect of the city’s current building boom. Critics, particularly union leaders, however, say that an increase in construction projects does not fully account for the increase in injuries and deaths. In particular, they claim that the rise of non-unionized contractors is compromising safety at many construction sites. As proof they point out that out of the eight construction-related fatalities in the city in 2012, six involved non-union members.
Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, but unfortunately what is an already risky profession is made all the more dangerous by contractors and employers who ignore or violate important safety standards. A worker who is injured in a construction accident can quickly lose his livelihood and struggle to support his family, which is why it’s so important for such workers to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Such an attorney can assist those who have been injured on the job get the compensation they may need during their recovery process.
Keywords: construction, accident, injury, workers’ compensation