When it comes to construction, summer is the busy season, and nobody knows that better than New York construction workers. Unfortunately with so many projects underway, summer is also the time when construction accidents peak. (In 2019, as soon as the weather began to warm, we saw the deaths of three construction workers in one week in New York City.) And as we battle COVID-19, a whole new set of safety concerns has arisen.
While supervisors are responsible for ensuring safe work sites, there is a lot that workers can do to keep themselves safe and avoid injuries in summer. If you do suffer an injury, however, a New York construction lawyer may be able to help. Buttafuoco & Associates specialize in construction injuries and have helped countless New York construction workers receive fair compensation after an accident. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help!
Be Aware of Risks
On a construction site, new risks present themselves multiple times per day. But when you’re working day in and day out on the same project, it’s easy to pay less attention to risks than you should. Changes in weather, being asked to work on a type of project you don’t have experience with, or even using a new tool can all present dangers.
A good place to start is by creating a daily ritual of evaluating your surroundings for hazards before you start working. Ideally, the project manager and construction safety officer should identify and communicate risks and ensure that work practices are safe, but during the busy season, this type of oversight can fall to the wayside.
In summer, specific risks that arise include working in extreme heat or during rainstorms. If it is too hot or conditions are too slippery to work, let your supervisor know. In addition, since we are facing a deadly pandemic, pay special attention to projects where you must work in close proximity to others. If there is a way to physically distance yourself from co-workers, do so, and make sure to wear a mask. They have shown to be incredibly effective against the spread of COVID-19.
Follow All Safety and Training Procedures
As you likely know, New York Local Law 196 requires significant construction safety training (30 hours) from everyone on site. In order to work on a construction site in New York, you must have proof that you have completed OSHA 10 training in the past five years.
Beyond required training, experienced workers should take the initiative to update their safety knowledge. Construction tools, technologies, and practices are constantly evolving, so staying up to speed is key. If you are assigned to a new project you haven’t been trained on or have questions about safety, always ask your supervisor.
COVID-19 poses specific safety risks that may have not been thoroughly addressed on your worksite, so always ask if you are unsure. OSHA also has a good list of safety considerations for COVID-19. In general, maintaining a distance from others of at least six feet, disinfecting shared tools, using hand sanitizer frequently, and staying home if you are sick are all incredibly important.
Use Personal Protective Equipment Properly
In the age of COVID-19, personal protective equipment involves not only your safety glasses, boots, and hardhat, but also face masks when working close to others.
If you do not have adequate equipment or PPE, the risk of injury or even death sharply escalates. It is your supervisor’s responsibility to supply you with the gear, tools, and PPE you need for any job you are working on. If you are missing any piece of PPE, ask that your supervisor supply it. Do not, under any circumstances, work on a job when you have not been provided with adequate equipment.
Needless to say, you should wear safety glasses and a face shield whenever you are at risk of foreign objects getting in your eyes. Always wear a hard hat in scenarios where tools or other dangerous objects could fall on you from above. Make sure your boots are in good condition and have slip-resistant as well as puncture-resistant soles. Invest in gloves that are sturdy enough to handle the job you are working on and wear earplugs when there is a lot of noise.
Seek Legal Help
If you have been injured in an accident on a construction site, a New York construction lawyer may be able to help. Many accidents that happen on construction sites are not the victim’s fault, and the responsible party must be held liable.
As specialists in construction accidents, since 1981 Buttafuoco & Associates has represented many construction workers and helped them recover the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. We may be able to help you, too.
Get in touch with us today for a free consultation on your case at 1-800-NOW-HURT.