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Construction accounts for 20 percent of job fatalities

It is not just New York construction workers who are hurt when safety problems occur at a building site. Depending on the where the renovation, repair or construction is taking place, any number of people may be at risk, including delivery drivers, passersby and other, non-construction employees as well.

Such was the case in the recent death of a 67-year-old security guard in midtown Manhattan, who a local news station reported was crushed by a glass panel that fell on him at a building site near Central Park. The panel fell while being moved by workers at a skyscraper where a 1,550-foot tower is under construction on West 57 Street, just down the street from Carnegie Hall.

Another construction worker was also injured in the accident but did not have life-threatening injuries. New York City's Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on the project following the incident and also issued a violation to the construction company for failing to safeguard the site.

According to the federal government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction accidents account for more than 20 percent of all on-the-job fatalities that occur in private industries. That equates to several hundred deaths annually, and nearly 1,000 of them in 2016. OSHA statistics for that year show a "fatal four" types of construction deaths, which include:

  • Falls: 384 deaths, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total
  • Struck by an object: 93 workers were killed, nearly 10 percent
  • Electrocutions: 82 died, more than 8 percent of the total
  • Caught in-between: 72, which represents more than 7 percent

The in-between category includes deaths that occurred when workers became caught in or compressed by construction equipment or objects. It also includes deaths from being crushed, struck or caught in collapsing structures or equipment.

The information in this article is not intended to be taken as legal advice.

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