What Is Construction Negligence?
Construction worksites can be dangerous places. While numerous safety regulations, measures, and protocols are typically in place at each construction site to provide sufficient protection for workers, accidents still occur.
The problem often lies not with the rules themselves, but with those who do not follow the rules. This failure to maintain standards of safety is construction negligence, which can lead to serious consequences.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence in New York is acting or failing to act in a way that is contrary to what a prudent person would do. It is more specifically defined on a case-by-case basis, with the context of each case determining what or what is not considered prudence.
For example, in the realm of traffic accidents, negligence is usually manifested as acts such as speeding, following too closely, and failure to yield.
In slip and fall and other premises liability cases, negligence commonly occurs due to failure to provide adequate lighting, failure to clear slipping hazards from walkways, and failure to repair stairs or floors of trafficked areas.
What Is Construction Negligence?
When it comes to construction accidents, negligence appears in many forms, all of which can cause serious injury and death to workers. In general, it can be defined as a failure to maintain clear and mandated standards of safety and care on construction sites.
Many of these standards are encoded in statutes and regulations, such as standards relating to:
- Clothing and uniforms
- The handling of hazardous materials
- Equipment and tool operation
- Personnel training and supervision
- Work hours
- Lighting and power
There are also general standards of care that give workers the right to be reasonably safe from harm.
Examples of Construction Negligence
Each year, construction negligence causes numerous accidents in New York and across the country. Some of the acts of construction negligence causing these accidents are more common than others. Regardless of the cause, they frequently result in severe consequences for injured workers.
Safety Equipment Issues
Many types of safety equipment are mandatory on worksites. However, safety equipment only works when used properly. Equipment must also be in proper working condition. Sadly, cutting corners and other similar factors can lead to a lack of adequate safety equipment and its use.
The construction industry runs on electricity. Even at locations where electricity has not yet been connected, workers bring in temporary power to run their operations. When temporary setups have not been installed correctly, the risk of electrocution rises. Common issues of negligence relating to electricity on construction sites include:
- Improper wire gauge
- Overloading circuits
- Improper wire patching
- Use of damaged cords
- Use of extension cords beyond their rating
Additionally, inexperienced workers handling electrical work without proper supervision can also lead to construction site electrocutions.
Property owners and tenants of locations with construction projects must maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition for workers. Although they are not responsible for keeping them safe while operating tools and equipment, they must ensure that stairs and walkways on the property, for example, are safe for use.
Equipment Operation Issues
Most of the tools used on construction sites can maim or kill quickly. For this reason, each worker must have a reasonable command over every tool they use, even a hammer. However, inexperienced workers can hurt and kill others when they wield equipment beyond their capacity.
Tools and equipment that are not properly and timely serviced also fall under construction negligence. Unmaintained construction tools and equipment can become a significant hazard on the job site.
Erroneous Structural or Load Calculations
Engineering calculations are crucial to a safe construction site. Building plans must contain correct and approved load calculations, or dangerous circumstances inevitably develop for workers and others.
Additionally, builders must ensure that they meticulously follow the instructions and calculations of engineers and architects regarding structural matters and load capacities.
Demolition projects are part and parcel of many construction ventures. Because of the inherently dangerous nature of demos — with or without explosions — many rules and regulations serve to control demo activities. Failure to follow them can lead to a significantly increased risk of death for workers and members of the general public.
Talk to a New York Construction Accident Attorney Today
Has a construction accident in New York left you injured and unable to work? You may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact Silberstein, Awad & Miklos today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we may be able to help you get justice for the harm you have suffered.