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Construction workers' accidents: Date for new law postponed

With increased activities in the New York City building industry, concern about worker safety led to a new law that mandates more training. The New York City Department of Buildings has data that indicates a significant rise in injuries and deaths resulting from construction workers' accidents. Although the law that had already been revised once was planned to become effective on Dec. 1, 2018, the deadline has now been moved to June 1, 2019.

Initially, various reforms were included in the new laws, one of which was a requirement for all workers in the construction industry to go through an apprenticeship program and receive 59 hours of safety training. However, opposition by non-union construction company owners led to the required safety training being reduced to 40 hours. Small business owners still believe that this requirement will put a significant financial burden on them.

DOB data indicates an alarming increase in construction accidents between January and September this year in comparison with the same period last year. Officials say there were 18 percent more accidents, resulting in 17 percent more injuries. Alarmingly, the number of fatalities doubled from four in 2017 to eight in 2018.

While New York workers in this industry will have to wait six months longer before receiving more safety training, victims of construction workers' accidents will continue to be covered by the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system. Medical expenses and lost wages typically form part of the benefits, and families who have lost loved ones under such circumstances will get compensation to cover funeral and burial expenses. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can simplify the claims process.

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