NYC Construction Accident Statistics

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NYC Construction Accident Statistics

NYC Construction Accident StatisticsThe state of New York has the fourth-largest construction industry in the nation. This is true despite recent job losses, likely due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

New York City has approximately 1.1 million buildings and 35,000 active construction projects, according to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).

Construction work is extremely risky. Workers often use heavy machinery and work at great heights. Unfortunately, construction accidents often result in severe injury or death.

Fatal Construction Accidents in NYC on the Rise

Fatal Construction Accidents in NYC on the RiseThe latest report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) shows that work-related fatalities in New York City increased each year between 2017-2019.

The “Deadly Skyline” report shows that the number of construction workers killed on the job in New York state as a whole decreased for the three-year period studied by NYCOSH. But worker deaths within NYC increased during that same time. The report uses information from the DOB, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Construction Accidents in New York City

The DOB recently conducted a comprehensive study of all construction sites within its jurisdiction. The 2019-2020 safety report revealed that roughly 60% of all construction accidents in NYC result in injury or death.

Between 2018 and 2020, the following number of construction accidents occurred in NYC:

2018: 1190

2019: 959

2020: 796

Of those, the following resulted in injury or death:

2018: 746 (63%)

2019: 565 (59%)

2020: 485 (61%)

The following number of NYC construction workers were injured:

2019: 595

2020: 502

The following number of NYC construction workers were killed:

2019: 12

2020: 8

While the total number of construction accidents is not yet available for 2021, reports indicate that 7 construction workers had died in NYC as of September 13, 2021.

Time will tell if the recent decrease in the number of accidents is due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the construction industry.

This New York DOB report includes only incidents in construction projects under its supervision. Statistics collected by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) discussed below may be a little different because the criteria are slightly different.

Fatal Construction Accidents in New York City

Before looking at the statistics for NYC, it’s helpful to get an overall sense of fatal construction accidents throughout the state.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the following numbers of deaths on construction worksites throughout New York state over the past ten years:

  • 2011: 33
  • 2012: 40
  • 2013: 42
  • 2014: 54
  • 2015: 55
  • 2016: 73
  • 2017: 72
  • 2018: 60
  • 2019: 60
  • 2020: 55

The construction workers killed in NYC make up a significant percentage of the deaths in the construction industry statewide:

  • 2011: 17 (52% of statewide deaths)
  • 2012: 20 (50% of statewide deaths)
  • 2013: 17 (40% of statewide deaths)
  • 2014: 22 (41% of statewide deaths)
  • 2015: 25 (45% of statewide deaths)
  • 2016: 21 (29% of statewide deaths)
  • 2017: 20 (28% of statewide deaths)
  • 2018: 23 (38% of statewide deaths)
  • 2019: 26 (43% of statewide deaths)
  • 2020: 13 (24% of statewide deaths) 

The numbers in 2020 are likely affected by the pandemic. Still, nearly one in four construction deaths in the state occurred in NYC.

Injuries Caused By Construction Accidents in New York

If accidents on construction sites aren’t fatal, they often result in severe injuries.  Compared to other injured workers, construction workers who are hurt on the job are more likely to lose time at work due to their injuries.

BLS reports the following number of construction injuries statewide:

2018: 9,600 

2019: 8,100

2020: 6,700

Incidents requiring time away from work, job restriction, or job transfer:

2018: 6,600 (69%)

2019: 5,300 (65%)

2020: 5,100 (76%)

Compared to workplace incidents across all industries in New York state:

2018: 200,600 

2019: 206,700

2020: 289,300

Incidents requiring time away from work:

2018: 115,800 (58%)

2019: 114,900 (56%)

2020: 129,800 (45%)

This clearly shows that accidents in the construction industry are far more likely to result in injuries significant enough to require the employee to miss work.

In 2020, more than three out of 4 accidents resulted in a worker needing to spend time off the job.

Common Causes of Construction Accidents in NYC

Construction projects vary in scale and scope. Construction workers face a wide range of risks every day on the job.

According to information from the DOB and the NYCOSH, these “fatal four” accidents account for 69% of construction deaths in NYC:

Falls are continually the number one cause of construction deaths in New York City.

Causes of Construction Accidents in NYC – 2020

According to DOB’s safety report, some of the most common construction and industrial accidents in 2020 were from worker falls, material failures, and scaffolding incidents

Worker Falls:

Incidents: 159

Injuries: 141

Deaths: 4

These are generally when a worker falls from a height, as opposed to a trip and fall.

Material Failure:

Incidents: 65

Injuries: 25

Deaths: 2

These accidents occur when various parts of a construction site, such as a wall, object, or other debris, fall onto a worker. 

Scaffolding/shoring Installations

Incidents: 51 

Injuries: 9 

Fatalities: 0 

These accidents generally occur due to improper scaffolding use or failure to secure supports.

Mechanical Construction Equipment Accidents

Incidents: 15 

Injuries: 3

Fatalities: 0 

These are generally accidents that cause a worker to be hit or crushed by equipment in a construction or excavation accident. This could be caused by defective machinery, failure to follow safety protocols or any number of other scenarios.

Other Construction-related Accidents

Incidents: 493

Injuries: 323 injuries

Fatalities: 2 

“Other construction-related” incidents don’t fall neatly into any of the major accident categories. They may include tripping accidents, electrical shocks, injuries from hand tools, and other miscellaneous injuries.

Safety Violations on New York City Construction Sites

Many construction accidents are preventable and are directly related to safety violations. In fact, NYCOSH reported that every OSHA-inspected job site where a fatality occurred also had a corresponding OSHA violation

Most Common OSHA Violations

In 2020, the most common OSHA violations in the construction industry nationwide were:

  • Fall protection
  • Scaffolding
  • Ladders
  • Training requirements
  • Eye and face protection
  • Head protection
  • Hazard communication

Roughly 25% of all citations in the construction industry are for improper fall protection for workers.

NYC Safety Measures

In 2019, the DOB added a new safety inspection unit to help enforce the new Site Safety Training requirements (imposed by Local Law 196) across the city. The Construction Safety Compliance (CSC) unit conducts random unannounced inspections of permitted sites. 

In 2019, the CSC:

  • Conducted more than 21,500 inspections
  • Issued approximately 13,000 violations at 3,400 sites (about 4 per site)
  • Issued roughly 2,400 Stop Work Orders

In 2020, the CSC:

  • Conducted more than 15,500 inspections at 9,500 sites
  • Issued roughly 7,600 violations at 2,775 sites (less than 3 per site)
  • Issued more than 1,900 Stop Work Orders

The CSC found the following violations in 2019:

  • Manhattan: 3,654
  • Bronx: 1,104
  • Brooklyn: 5,302
  • Queens: 2,528
  • Staten Island: 286

The CSC found the following violations in 2020:

  • Manhattan: 1,753
  • Bronx: 911
  • Brooklyn: 2,952
  • Queens: 1,846
  • Staten Island: 171

Beginning in June 2021, the DOB announced a “zero tolerance” campaign to improve safety at construction sites.

In the first three months of the campaign, which began June 1, 2021, the DOB:

  • Inspected 7,500 building sites throughout all five boroughs
  • Issued more than 3,600 citations
  • Issued 1,499 Stop Work Orders due to unsafe conditions

That means nearly half (48%) of all construction sites had a violation. And 20% were so severe that the construction project was ordered to stop.

Contact a New York Construction Accident Lawyer

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you could be entitled to compensation from either workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit. Don’t hesitate to contact an NYC construction accident attorney at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers.

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