Construction Site Safety During COVID-19

NYC Building Construction

After weeks of shut-down, some NYC businesses are preparing to open once again. This includes the construction industry, as Governor Cuomo has listed the industry as a low-risk business and are permitted to open again as soon as mid-May. But, going back to work on a construction site will not be going back to normal. The “new normal” will include a laundry list of requirements to keep workers safe and protected.

The “New Normal” at Construction Sites

At least 85 percent of construction sites around NYC have been shut down since the pandemic began and the state of New York deemed construction nonessential.

What does this mean for our construction site workers? At one construction site, an anonymous party mentioned there’s simply no room for social distancing at a site. So how will they protect their worker’s health?

According to the New York Times, describing one site location, specifically: “When the site reopens, it will have a turnstile to control who enters, additional hand-washing areas and running water, the contractor told the site’s workers, according to the carpenter, who requested anonymity because he did not have permission to speak with the news media.”

Additional Technological & Safety Measures

In addition, NYC construction unions and contractors have been negotiating new work schedules. This could mean staggered work hours and requesting special permits to work longer hours on projects - potentially through the night and till early morning to be able to limit the number of workers on-site during any given time.

Extending work hours could lead to groggy workers on site, and if implemented, will need to keep additional measures in place to keep workers safe and out of harm.

Some companies are inventing new technologies to keep their workers safe.

“Turner Construction said that it had started to review the entire supply chain of construction projects, looking to reduce the need for workers to be in proximity to one another. Some parts could be prefabricated in a factory, shipped to a job site and then installed with fewer workers, the company said.

Suffolk Construction Company is planning to roll out new technology at construction sites, including thermal scanners, which can remotely detect a fever in a worker without using a hand-held tool.

Workers will also attach a device to their hard hats that will track their movements and sound an alarm when they get within six feet of a colleague.

Over time, the company said, data collected from those devices will allow the company to learn how people work and modify the workplace to keep people separated.”

Because of the inherently dangerous nature of almost all construction sites, construction accidents continue to occur on a daily basis, despite numerous state and federal safety laws and regulations that have been enacted to protect construction workers.

We’re entering new territories and testing new safety measures can be tricky. New regulations should never be tested at the cost of someone else’s safety.

If you or someone you know was recently injured at a construction site, contact Loscalzo & Loscalzo, P.C. at (646) 846-4776 to discuss your case with one of our personal injury attorneys today.