All Non-Essential Work Paused
During the original “New York State on PAUSE” order all construction was deemed “essential” and exempt, meaning that construction workers had to continue to work during a period of time after COVID-19 hit, ultimately endangering the lives of construction workers and their families, many of whom are immigrants.
Lawmakers Criticizing Continued Construction Work
As the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed across the City and the State, lawmakers continuously criticized the governor and the mayor for allowing construction work on high-end apartments and office spaces. They argued by doing so, the health of construction workers and their families were being endangered.
Due to the soaring number of detected Coronavirus cases in New York State and lawmakers urging for the sites to be closed immediately, Governor Cuomo updated the order and announced that most residential and commercial construction was suspended. At the same time, work that fell under the essential construction work category, including infrastructure (bridges, roads, transit facilities, etc.), hospitals, affordable housing, and emergency repairs was still permitted.
Regulations During COVID-19
According to the State’s executive order, essential construction sites must still maintain social distancing practices and companies will face a fine up to $10,000 for every safety violation. The Department of Buildings also created an interactive map with all the essential sites across the City. Some of the sites that remained active inlcuded the following:
- New York University
- New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital
- The Rockefeller University
- Columbia University
- Coalition for the Homeless
- 168 Plymouth Luxury Condos
- Con Edison Field, and many others.
You can explore the essential construction map that was issued HERE.
Prior to COVID-19
Prior to COVID-19, construction, demolition and renovation accidents at work sites occurred at an extremely high rate due to the hazardous conditions these workers face. The private construction industry sector has had the highest number in workplace fatalities, representing 20% of all occupational fatalities in the state of New York, and in the last five years, work-related injuries have increased by over 200%. This is especially problematic because the construction workforce is made up of some of the most vulnerable populations (for example, 77% of all the construction workers are immigrants).
As the Coronavirus pandemic spread all over the globe at an unprecedented rate, the danger these construction workers were exposed to has skyrocketed. Due to the soaring anxiety, fear of getting sick and getting their sites closed, the employers, land-owners, developers and general contractors were choosing speed over safety. They expected the workers to rush, scramble and make sure that the job was done as soon as possible. In addition, the construction workers were understandably working faster and with less caution so that they could escape the virus and be with their families at home. The result was an even greater increase of construction accidents that was inevitable. Today, it's more important than ever for you to seek an experienced construction worker injury lawyer in NYC.
Other Essential Construction Approved:
The construction which was allowed included: a) emergency work ordered by the DOB, b) restoration of essential services – heat, hot water, cold water, gas, electricity or other utility services and c) work necessary for corrective action that “severely affects life, health, safety, property, or significant number of persons.” Emergency construction was further articulated by the Bulletin as construction “required to continue to the extent that it would be unsafe to allow work to remain undone” but may “continue only until it is safe to shut the site.”
After the nonessential construction worksite restrictions were put in place, over 400 new “emergency work” permits were filed with the DOB in just one week. Many sites that were originally shut down were up and running again.
The ones who remained working on these sites, including all of the electricians, plumbers and utility workers, faced greater dangers than ever. Since nobody knew when the construction work would be back to normal, employers focused on getting as many projects done in the shortest amount of time as possible, instead of safety precautions for construction workers. This itself creates almost impossible working conditions for construction workers and chances of them getting injured are greater than ever. It is not surprising that the amount of construction accidents is skyrocked.
Contact Us for Help with Your Essential Worker Accident Claim
If you or someone that you love is an essential worker who has been injured in an accident, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PLLC are skilled in all of the issues and nuances that have arisen in these types of cases because of COVID-19. We will immediately move to preserve and protect your rights to compensation. Contact the experienced construction worker injury attorneys in NYC at the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PLLC, to find out what your rights are and let us take the necessary action on your behalf. We litigate every case aggressively, so that you can concentrate on recovery.