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Negligence and cost-cutting could lead to construction risks

Working in construction is a dangerous career path. Most construction workers finish their jobs without any incident, but some construction workers end up injured or killed while working. Sometimes, accidents are a result of an unpredictable confluence of events. Other times, workers are needlessly hurt or killed due to poor decision making by their employers. While accidents do happen, sometimes they are preventable. Employers should take every possible step to safeguard their workers when on a job site.

Bad weather, machinery failures or even a sudden medical event, like a heart attack, can lead to a serious construction accident. These situations are sometimes unavoidable incidents. Other accidents, however, can result from an employer deciding to cut corners, hire less skilled or trained workers, reduce costs by not buying or maintaining safety equipment or a host of other money-related decisions. When construction companies put profit above employee safety, construction workers are the ones who pay the price.

Certain workers are at higher risk than others

Construction workers with years of experience and plenty of safety training could face less risk at work. Conversely, under-trained and lower-paid workers with smaller firms could face more risk. In fact, according to a report by the American Society of Safety Engineers, young Hispanic/Latino workers working for smaller construction companies are at highest risk of death in construction. These vulnerable workers end up performing dangerous work for lower pay, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

There are a number of reasons that could create this imbalance. First of all, smaller construction firms may be more likely to offer lower pay, attracting untrained workers to the positions. Secondly, these firms may not have the same safety equipment as larger companies. Finally, these companies may bid on smaller projects, which are subject to fewer regulations in terms of worker safety. These and other factors contribute to an unsafe work environment that puts workers at needless risk.

Construction workers deserve safe environments

The quality of work performed by construction workers impacts the safety and longevity of buildings and other critical infrastructure in New York. While there are regulations in place to protect workers, more may still be needed. The primary risks to construction workers include falls, falling objects, electrocutions and crushing accidents. Many of these can be reduced with proper safety compliance and adequate equipment.

When an employer chooses to prioritize keeping costs low over keeping construction workers safe, workers can end up severely injured or even dead. Many times, the compensation for the worker or their family comes from workers' compensation, but it's possible the employer could get held legally and financially responsible, too. If a company values profit over human life and safety, impacting their finances may be the only way to change that practice.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
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