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Are union construction jobs safer in New York City?

Labor groups and politicians are asking a lot of questions surrounding the safety of construction jobs in New York City -- particularly the safety of union jobs. Officials want to know if the recent spike in construction job-related deaths and injuries relates more to nonunion jobs or union jobs. They want to determine if workers are safer when they are unionized.

Death Of Worker At New York City Construction Site On April 24, 2015 Underscores The Importance Of Preventive Safety

On construction sites there is often very little or no room for error. When a construction worker is injured in the course of working with heavy materials, under hazardous conditions, in the vicinity of heavy-duty machinery, the consequences are often tragic. Yesterday's fatal accident at the Manhattan New York City Construction site represents one such very sad example.

Workers' Compensation and Civil Lawsuits in Construction Accidents

Workers' compensation and civil lawsuits are both legal protections put in place to help protect employees in the event they are injured on the job. However, the two function very differently. They work through different processes and often lead to different payouts. Additionally, most people are only eligible for one or the other. These distinctions are particularly important to construction workers because the types of construction accidents, along with their frequency that they experience on the job, can often make them eligible for one of these remedies. 

Construction Sites and Falling Objects

A federal court for the Northern District of New York recently issued an opinion making it more difficult for construction workers performing elevated work to recover for injuries they suffer as a result of construction accidents. The case in question, Diaz v. GLOBALFOUNDRIES U.S., involved the court trying to interpret New York Labor Law § 240(1). That portion of the code holds contractors and property owners liable for injuries that workers suffer on the job because the owner or contractor failed to set up necessary safety equipment related to elevated work, like scaffolds, pulleys, hoists, or ladders. The judge in Diaz interpreted an older piece of law known as the "Runnerdoctrine," to require that a plaintiff either be injured in a fall or by a falling object to recover under this section of the code. 

Undocumented Immigrants and Construction Site Accidents

One of the most heavily discussed political issues of the day is how to handle the influx of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. The contentious nature of this political issue can lead to a great deal of uncertainty with regard to how enforcement of immigration is carried out, something that seems to change almost day by day. This can be of particular concern to workers who suffer construction site injuries because that field attracts large amounts of undocumented immigrants.

Homeowner Liability for Construction Accidents

It is common to assume that legal liability in construction site accidents involve only the injured party and the involved construction company. However, depending on the specifics of the accident and the exact location of the construction work, many other individuals and interests may be implicated.

Construction Site Accidents and Child Safety Concerns

Construction sites can be hazardous to workers on the job, but they can also pose dangers to people in the immediate area of construction. A recent Manhattan construction accident highlights the potential for serious and catastrophic injury. 

A Bridge to Destruction: Structurally Deficient Bridges in New York City

In a recent report published by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, approximately 63,000 bridges nationwide were found to be in serious need of renovation, where many were determined to have extremely compromised structures. Of the bridges that were found to be aging and dangerous, 2000 of the total bridges were located in New York City, one of them being the Major Deegan Expressway in The Bronx.
The bridge, which was built over 80 years ago, sees over 150,000 vehicles daily. The report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, listed it as one of the top ten "structurally deficient" bridges in New York. A bridge collapse would mean catastrophe in a place like New York City, with a likelihood of serious injury and fatalities as a result.
According to the report, about 12 percent of the bridges within the state (there are 17,442 bridges in New York statewide) were missing at least one structural element that is required by the federal safety guidelines. It has been estimated that in order to bring all of the bridges within the state of New York up to code and structurally sound, it would cost around $60.8 billion. 

Gas Leak Explosion Levels Two Apartments in East Harlem: Was NYC's Self-Certification Practice the Culprit?

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, two buildings containing 15 apartments collapsed after an explosion that was thought to be a product of a water main collapsing on a gas line in East Harlem. These two buildings are recorded as the ninth and tenth buildings in Harlem since 2008 to have collapsed due to poor and dilapidated infrastructure. The gas line that linked the two buildings, as reported by the New York Times, was installed in 1887 and made of leak-prone, fragile cast iron, the same material that has been used in one third of the gas lines in New York City. 

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