Construction equipment accidents are a major concern in New York, as they impact the lives of construction workers, children and anyone else who has an encounter with these large machines. Equipment such as bulldozers can cause substantial injuries that can change a victim’s life forever. Bulldozers are large and heavy machines that are used on construction sites to move around dirt, dig out trees, tear down buildings and level the ground. Now that bulldozers are being used to tear down the homes that are irreparably damaged by Hurricane Sandy throughout New York, construction workers as well as the general public should take caution around these machines to make sure that no one gets hurt.
When these bulldozers plowed through homes in Staten Island, the homeowners could not help but weep. The Department of Buildings has demolished over 200 homes torn apart by the hurricane. Everyone knew that the houses were beyond repair but the news is little comfort to those who have built their lives and memories in these homes. As bulldozers come to pick up the remains of what Hurricane Sandy has left behind, many dread watching a lifetime of hard work and memories being thrown into a scrap pile.
Bulldozers have been known for more than just mental anguish. These huge machines have been responsible for causing physical pain by rolling or running over people or by making people fall. For example, a construction accident on December 12, 2012 in Iowa left a 56-year old employee of a paving company trapped underneath a bulldozer where he subsequently died. Earlier that year, a man in Mississippi was using a bulldozer to clean up debris when the machine slipped into a pond. “The man was trapped in the bulldozer underwater and died before workers could free him from the machine and debris.” More recently, news reports indicate that a man in West Virginia died this month after being “trapped beneath the 18,000-pound bulldozer.”
Prevalence of Construction Accidents
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of 4,206 worker fatalities in private industry in the year 2010, 774 (18.7%) were in construction. Out of these 774 incidents, a significant number involve the use of a bulldozer. Reports show that within the New York metro area, including northern New Jersey and Long Island, construction fatalities jumped from 28 to 40 between 2010 and 2011.
The person who operates the bulldozer has the responsibility to carefully maneuver this machine to make sure that anyone in the near vicinity does not get hurt. The employer, such as a construction company, is required to provide safety training and inspect equipment to make sure that these dreadful accidents do not occur. Finally, manufacturers of bulldozers can also be held accountable, as they must provide adequate warnings and design equipment to have safety devices to prevent certain accidents such as rollovers.
If you are a construction worker or a person who lives or passes by a construction site often, be aware of the dangers around you. As an employee, protect yourself from hazards and carefully operate machinery. Bulldozers and other heavy machines are dangerous and can cause fatalities. Therefore, taking the time to read safety warnings and to exercise precaution can help you have a safer year.
To read more about occupational injuries including injuries caused at construction sites, you can visit the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics here. If you have been harmed by a bulldozer or other machinery, consider contacting a construction accident lawyer to protect your legal rights.