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What are the “Fatal Four” in New York Construction Accidents?


Construction accidents are nearly always preventable in New York, yet these deadly accidents continue to occur throughout the five boroughs and across New York State. Certain types of injury risks are more prevalent than others in construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites the “fatal four” as the most frequent reasons for fatal construction accidents. We want to provide more information about the “fatal four,” and to help construction workers and their families understand their options for seeking compensation in the event of a construction site accident.

Understanding the “Fatal Four”

According to OSHA, the following are known as the “fatal four” because they most frequently cause deadly accidents on construction sites:

● Falls (more than 33% of all construction site deaths);

● Struck by Object (more than 11% of all construction fatalities);

● Electrocutions (8.5% of deadly construction accidents); and

● Caught-in/between (5.5% of construction deaths).

Preventing Fatal Accidents on Construction Sites

How can the fatal four be prevented? Consider the following tips from OSHA:

● Use personal fall arrest equipment whenever work is being done on scaffolding or at heights;

● Install perimeter protection;

● Secure any floor openings;

● Label floor opening covers;

● Use ladders safely;

● Conduct training to properly use scaffolds safety, and ensure that scaffolds are being used safely;

● Avoiding situations in which a construction worker must position himself between a moving and a fixed object;

● All construction workers should wear high-visibility clothes when cranes or other vehicles are being used;

● No construction workers should enter an unprotected trench or excavation site without a protective system;

● Locate and ID utilities before construction work begins to prevent electrocutions;

● Be aware of overhead power lines and keep a safe distance;

● Never operate electric tools unless they are grounded or double-insulated;

● Make sure to have ground-fault circuit interrupters; and

● Consider electrical hazards when you are using ladders or scaffolds.

How to File a Construction Accident Claim

When a serious construction accident occurs as a result of a safety violation, construction workers and their families (in the event of a fatal accident) may have more than one option in New York. First, the injured worker may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide compensation for a portion of lost wages and compensation for medical care or treatment.

In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, workers also may have a remedy under Section 200, 240, or 241 of New York Labor Law. These sections of New York Labor Law require construction site owners, general contractors, or other employers in related positions to provide a safe worksite, and failure to do so can result in a claim under the law. An injured construction worker or a family member in the event of a fatal accident can be eligible to file a claim under New York Labor Law in addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney for Assistance

Do you have questions about the fatal four or compensation options after a construction accident in New York? Many construction accidents are avoidable, and it is important to seek compensation in addition to holding a construction site employer accountable under New York Labor Law. One of the experienced New York construction accident attorneys at our firm can speak with you today about your options. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC to learn more about how we can assist you.

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