Construction Safety Codes and Accidents in New York

construction engineer supervising construction

Many New York City construction accidents occur as the result of violations of OSHA regulations. “OSHA” stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a government agency that has put numerous requirements in place that are intended to safeguard the health of workers in construction and other industries. OSHA rules are intended to minimize the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.

If you were working on a construction site and there were violations of OSHA regulations, the responsible parties can be cited and can face serious penalties, including fines and even a work-stoppage order. If the OSHA violation caused you to suffer an injury, the OSHA citation can also be used as important evidence in a construction injury lawsuit.

To learn more about OSHA violations and your rights after a construction accident or injury, call the New York City construction accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a consultation. There is no obligation, so call today at 917-722-1852 or contact the firm through our online form.

We serve construction accident victims in the Bronx and all of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Long Island.

OSHA Regulations On Construction Sites

OSHA has instituted a number of regulations governing construction site safety. Some of the major causes of construction site injuries and the regulations intended to minimize the risks of injury include:

  • Electrical incidents – In 29 CFR 1926.416(a)(1), OHSA requires that employees have proper protection when working near any part of electrical power circuits.
  • Falls – 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M addresses fall protection. According to OSHA requirements, whenever a worker is working somewhere where he or she could potentially fall six or more feet, a personal fall arrest system, safety net system or guardrail system must be used.
  • Being struck by objects – According to 29 CFR 1926 Subpart E, head protection and other personal protective equipment must be worn on construction sites.
  • Trenching and excavation – Cave-ins are a likely cause of injury when performing trenching and excavation work. 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P Appendix A addresses the process for evaluating soil conditions, while 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P Appendix F imposes mandates related to protective systems.

These are just a few examples of the common problems that are addressed by OSHA regulations. There are also requirements regarding:

  • Safety training and education
  • Fire protection and prevention
  • Sanitation
  • Means of egress
  • Hazardous waste operations and emergency response.
  • Working over or near water
  • Hand and power tools
  • And a whole host of other issues that are specific to construction sites.

Types Of OSHA Violations

Those in charge of construction sites or employing workers on construction sites have to be in compliance with all OSHA requirements. Their sites may be subject to regular inspection; when responsible parties are not fully in compliance with all regulations, they may be cited and ordered to pay fines, correct the problem or even stop work.

Despite the protections that are in place, employers still violate OSHA safeguards. In fact, OSHA publishes a list of the 10 most commonly cited violations, which include:

  1. Scaffolding violations
  2. Fall protection violations
  3. Hazard communication violations
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tag-out violations
  6. Electrical wiring methods
  7. Powered industrial trucks (forklifts)
  8. Ladders
  9. Electrical, general requirements
  10. Machine guarding

Violations of these or other regulations can lead to workers’ suffering injuries that could have easily been prevented if the responsible parties had taken steps to ensure the safety of those working on their New York City construction sites.

What to Do When An Injury Occurs Due To An OSHA Violation

When an injury occurs as a result of a violation of any OSHA regulations, it is important to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the injury and the violation. OSHA inspectors can review the construction site and, if it is determined that a violation occurred, can issue a citation.

An OSHA citation can be used as important evidence that there were problems on the construction site that led to an injury. In a workers’ compensation act or in a personal injury lawsuit against any third party that is responsible for your accident and injuries, an OSHA citation could go a long way toward helping you to successfully prove liability and recover the maximum compensation permitted under the law.

Top 10 OSHA Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues citations to employers for failure to comply with safety regulations and requirements. A failure to follow safety rules can have serious consequences for workers, as unsafe conditions increase the risk of accidents and death.

There are thousands of OSHA regulations that apply across different industries, but certain regulations are violated more frequently than others. OSHA has identified the top 10 violations that result in citations. Employees and employers should be vigilant at identifying these violations in their own workplaces.

For the fiscal year 2013, the 10 most frequently cited standards by OSHA included:

  1. Regulation 29 CFR 1926.501, which addresses fall protection in the construction industry.
  2. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.1200, which addresses hazard communication across general industries.
  3. Regulation 29 CFR 1926,451, which sets requirements for scaffolding in construction.
  4. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.134, which relates to respiratory protection rules across general industries.
  5. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.305, which sets standards for electrical, wiring methods and equipment across general industries.
  6. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.178, which regulates powered industrial trucks across all industries.
  7. Regulation 29 CFR 1926.1053, which addresses safety requirements for ladders in the construction industry.
  8. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.146, which relates to control of hazardous energy across general industries.
  9. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.303, which provides general requirements for electrical system design across general industries.
  10. Regulation 29 CFR 1910.212, which sets standards for machinery and machine guarding across general industries.

Violations of workplace safety rules are identified when OSHA conducts a routine investigation, when complaints are made to OSHA, or when an OSHA investigation is launched as a result of a reported workplace injury or death. If OSHA identifies a violation of safety regulations, a citation may be issued to the employer.

There is a marked overlap between the list of the most commonly violated standards and the top causes of workplace deaths. For example, fall injuries are responsible for the majority of deaths in the construction industry and are one of the four top reasons for construction worker deaths, along with electrocution and workers becoming trapped or being struck by objects. Violations of fall protection laws, scaffolding regulations, and ladder safety rules are all among the top three violations that prompt OSHA citations.

Safety Violations In The Workplace

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who identify safety violations in their workplace on the basis of a report.

If a worker is injured on the job, the worker may file a workers’ compensation claim. There is no requirement that the worker proves negligence or an OSHA violation to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. However, if a third party’s negligence or violation of safety rules was responsible for causing a worker injury, the worker may pursue a personal injury claim to obtain additional compensation not available through the workers’ compensation program. In an injury lawsuit, a violation of safety regulations could be used to prove the defendant should be held liable for losses.

New York workplace accident lawyer at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can help workers injured on the job. Find out how we can help you today. Call us or contact us online for a free claim review.

Hurt Because Of An OSHA Violation? Call Our New York Construction Injury Lawyers Today

Employers and other third parties responsible for construction sites, such as property owners, developers, general contractors and manufacturers of construction tools and machines, are under an obligation to ensure a safe environment on New York City construction sites. When they fail to meet that obligation, injured workers have legal rights.

If you or someone you love was harmed in a construction accident related to an OSHA violation and someone other than the employer was to blame, you could be entitled to receive damages if the third party falls outside of the workers’ compensation system.

The New York City OSHA violation attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., are skilled at evaluating construction accident claims and can help you determine whether the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to your injuries. Call our firm today at 917-722-1852 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.