As any true New Yorker knows, construction is just part of daily life. We live in a bustling city where new apartments and skyscrapers go up every single day. And while construction makes our lives easier in the long run, it sometimes proves to be an accident waiting to happen for pedestrians. It’s not just construction workers who are at risk. Pedestrians are just as capable of slipping and falling when a construction zone encroaches public pathways. They can be injured on or around construction sites in various ways:
- Discarded materials on public walkways
- Trash around dumpsters, and/or falling from sloppy trash chutes
- Runoff from concrete mixers and other machines that utilize water
- Scrap pieces of wood, concrete, and other materials
- Falling construction materials onto pedestrians below
Contractors and property owners have a legal duty to keep their construction sites clean and safe, otherwise they can be held liable for injuries. However, due to time constraints or pure negligence, basic safety precautions are often forgotten. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect workers and pedestrians alike against slips, trips, and falls caused by slippery floors, or trip hazards like leftover materials and debris.
OSHA encourages all construction companies, contractors, and workers to follow these regulations to prevent accidents at construction sites:
Cleaning up is an effective way to minimize accidents. OSHA requires that passageways be clear of obstructions, in good repair, and large enough to allow safe clearance. Construction companies can take the initiative by:
- Picking up after each worker
- Keeping surfaces and stairways clear of debris
- Putting away tools and equipment after use
The contractor or supervisor should always give workers enough time to clean up their work area, especially if the public will be walking there.
Keeping indoor and outdoor surfaces clean and dry. Companies should treat outdoor surfaces with sand, salt, or anti-skid adhesive. Indoors, companies can use non-slip floor mats and ask workers to clean their shoes.
Guard holes and openings. OSHA defines a “hole” as a gap or space more than two inches wide in any horizontal working surface, and an “opening” as a gap or space at least 30 inches high and 18 inches wide in a vertical surface. Holes, and any openings that could lead to a fall, must have:
- Covers or railings to prevent tripping or falling
- A toeboard if tools may fall into it or people can pass under it
If holes or openings must be left temporarily open, they must be watched or access blocked off until they are covered again.
After a Slip-and-Fall on a Construction Site, You Have Options
As well as having the potential for trip-and-falls, construction sites are dangerous in other ways. If you or a loved one has been injured at a construction site, you need a powerful law firm that has experienced New York slip-and-fall injury lawyers. Our law firm has worked on some of the most important construction and workplace accident cases in the State of New York. We are committed to helping victims of workplace accidents obtain justice. Call Adam Handler – The Case Handler – at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP for a free consultation today at 929-223-4195.