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New York task force probes work injuries for criminal causes

The recent explosion of construction in New York has brought with it a rash of accidents. While work injuries and deaths are often seen as unavoidable risks of dangerous jobs like construction, the district attorney's office is seeking to bring attention to criminal activity that may be at the root of those accidents. A joint task force of several agencies is working to investigate construction accidents and the potentially criminal activity that may create hazardous working conditions.

The task force suspects that falsified safety inspections and bribery may be among the crimes that create a dangerous environment for construction workers. The investigation was rewarded recently when a contractor was found guilty of manslaughter after one of his workers was crushed in a trench collapse last year. The court found that the contractor had ignored the unsafe conditions of the trench and failed to prevent the fatal cave-in.

In the past year, New York workers constructed 92 million square feet of new buildings. Unfortunately, five workers have died on the job so far this year. Those speaking for contractors worry about the push to criminalize construction deaths. They insist that most contractors care for the safety of their employees, but accidents sometimes happen in high-risk jobs like construction. The district attorney encourages workers to take pictures documenting dangers on job sites and to report injuries honestly.

Not all work injuries are the result of criminal behavior, but many injuries, especially in construction, may disrupt one's life with medical treatment, physical therapy and lost wages. To make sure they are compensated for their pain and suffering -- as well as the cost of treatment -- many injured workers in New York consult an attorney. An experienced lawyer will fight for a worker's right to fair compensation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Manhattan Prosecutors Go After Builders on Construction-Site Safety", Corinne Ramey, Aug. 26, 2016

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