Scaffolds Raising the New York City Skyline are Raising Concern

New York City sidewalk sheds (the open scaffolds you walk under) are well on their way to becoming as synonymous with the Big Apple as hot-dog carts and yellow-taxi cabs. With the influx of construction, NYC sidewalk sheds and scaffolding have devoured thousands of streets and have become more than just an eyesore for residents; they’re safety hazards.

According to the Department of Building, there are currently 9,000 sheds on the city’s streets, up from 3,500 in 2003. Although many attribute the rise in sheds and scaffolding to the boom in construction, the underlying reason lies within city legislation. Thirty-six … Read the rest

An Alarming Report on Construction Worker Fatalities in New York

On May 11, 2015, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health unveiled alarming findings from their latest study, “Price of Live: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC”.  The study found that construction accounts for 20% of on the job fatalities in New York State although it accounts for less than 4% of  employment, it represents 20% of on the job fatalities in New York State.

Other key findings involve fatalities resulting from falls at construction sites. Falls from deadly heights make up half of the construction fatalities in New York State and 71% of all injuries in … Read the rest

Paraplegia: Injury Victims Need to Adjust to Major Life Changes

At Levine & Slavit, our team of attorneys are committed to accident victims throughout Long Island and Manhattan. We have a strong belief that their legal rights and entitlements need to be respected, particularly after a catastrophic injury of some kind. A spinal cord injury cannot be taken lightly given the long-term effects, such as paralysis of the lower limbs or all of an accident victim’s limbs. We’ve previously discussed the seriousness of quadriplegia injury lawsuits on this blog, and we’d like to turn our attention to paraplegia, another form of paralysis.

Defining Paraplegia

Paraplegia refers to the loss of

Read the rest

Cancer-Causing Chromium a Hot Topic with OSHA

Go onto the U.S. Department of Labor’s website and you will find much to read about what OSHA is attempting to do to reduce the exposure of workers to chromium, and more particularly hexavalent chromium, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening product. Industrial processes that involve chromium can result in worker exposure to toxic hexavalent chromium. It is estimated that 558,000 workers are potentially exposed to hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] in the United States. Job tasks that may expose workers to Cr(VI) include spray painting, sanding, grinding and abrasive blasting.

A major source of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during “hot … Read the rest

Construction Industry Foiled in Its Attempt to Avoid Complying with New York City’s Regulations Governing Cranes, Derricks and Hoisting Equipment

In Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York, the Steel Institute of New York, advancing the interests of the construction industry, sued the City of New York challenging local statutes and regulations that govern the use of cranes, derricks, and other hoisting equipment in construction and demolition. The Steel Institute argued that they are preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the “Act”) and federal standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (McMahon, J.) dismissed the suit on summary judgment, … Read the rest

Deadline to Contribute to OSHA Construction Standards and to Workplace Safety and Health Hazards Approaches

Last month the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Request for Information to initiate the fourth phase of its Standards Improvement Project (SIP). The purpose of SIP-IV is to improve and streamline existing OSHA construction standards by removing or revising requirements that are confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with, other standards. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the winners of its Worker Safety and Health App Challenge, which awards prizes totaling $30,000 to four entrants who submitted tools that best demonstrate the importance of recognizing and preventing workplace safety and … Read the rest

Sephora Held Liable Under Labor Law For Providing Worker with Ladder That Was Too Short

The strict liability imposed by New York’s Scaffold Law, designed to protect construction workers who work in dangerous conditions and lack the leverage to ensure that building owners and contractors give them a safe place to work, has been somewhat weakened by a line of cases that hold that the Labor Law does not apply to construction site accidents where the employee’s conduct can be said to be the sole proximate cause of an accident. But most recently the Appellate Division, First Department reminded the bar that if plaintiff’s injuries were the direct consequence of a failure to provide adequate … Read the rest

Property Owners and Contractors Should Winterize Their Construction Sites

Winter weather always brings added risks of injury due to snow and ice. Pedestrians can slip and fall on snow and ice. Vehicles can slide on slick road surfaces. So too does winter’s cold weather bring additional risks to construction sites and those who work there or pass by. Winter weather can increase the risk of falls at construction sites and of malfunctions of heavy machinery, such as cranes and hoists, causing injury and even death.

The New York City Buildings Department has suggested 10 tips for property owners and contractors on how to “winterize” their construction sites:

Fire safety … Read the rest

Owner’s Liability for Construction Site Accident in Manhattan Not Defeated by Diplomatic Immunity

In USAA Casualty Insurance Co., as Subrogee v. Permanent Mission Of The Republic Of Namibia, — F.3d —, 2012 WL 1889409 (May 25, 2012), the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations was sued for the $397,730.00 worth of damage to an adjoining property from a construction site accident caused by its alleged failure to comply with Section 3309.8 of the New York City Building Code (“the Building Code”). The Mission claimed that it was immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”). The Second Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals not … Read the rest

New York City Buildings Department Releases 2011 Annual Report

The 2011 Annual Report, released last month, touts New York City as the nation’s safest big city in 2011. 2011 marked a near-historic low number of fire fatalities, a 10th consecutive year of fewer than 600 murders, a record-breaking low number of traffic deaths — and an 18% decrease in construction-related accidents, which follows an almost 28% reduction in 2010 from 2009. Construction-related injury rates also continue to improve. There were approximately 8% fewer injuries in 2011 over 2010, following a nearly 32% decline in 2010 from 2009. Construction-related fatalities remained low, with five caused by falls or shoddy construction. … Read the rest