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New York Legal Blog

NYC seeing construction-related prosecutions

Many things have occurred along with the recent construction boom in New York City. One, sadly, has been an increase in construction-related deaths and injuries in the city. Another is authorities in the city taking actions within the criminal justice system in their fight against unsafe practices in construction.

Among the concerns some prosecutors in the city have had regarding the construction boom is that the boom conditions might be leading some construction companies to not give safety its proper due. To combat such safety corner-cutting and other unsafe practices in construction, multiple law enforcement and prosecution agencies in the city, including Manhattan's district attorney’s office, started a task force aimed at investigating potential criminal activity touching on construction safety. Also, city prosecutors have brought criminal charges against some construction companies over safety matters.

Fatigue can cause big problems out on the waters

Among the things that could up the chances of a maritime vessel getting into an accident is its crew being overly fatigued. A tired crew could be more prone to making mistakes that could put a vessel in harm’s path. One of the things this could lead to is a vessel’s crew getting seriously injured.

So, it is very important for owners of commercial maritime vessels, whether their ship be a fishing vessel, a cargo vessel or some other type of vessel, to take appropriate measures to ensure their vessel’s crew is able to get a proper amount of rest before performing vessel duties. It is also important for such owners to avoid practices that would increase the likelihood of the vessel’s crew ending up in a situation in which they are drowsy while doing their vessel duties.

Outdoor work can pose skin cancer risks for construction workers

The fact that construction projects often involve outdoor work is among the things that can raise special concerns for construction workers health-wise. One of the things that construction workers can be exposed to while working outdoors is ultraviolet rays from the sun. As a note, such exposure is not something that can just happen on sunny days, it can happen on cloudy days as well.

So, proper UV protection can be remarkably important for construction workers. Construction companies should make sure to have the polices and training necessary for their workers to have a full understanding of the UV ray exposure risks outdoor work has and what steps can be taken to have protection from such rays when working outdoors.

U.S. coastal areas and offshore wind farming

A lot can be going on in coastal areas, from commercial fishing to commercial shipping traffic. One thing that is just getting added to the list now here in the United States is wind farming.

The United States’ waters are just about to get their first completed offshore wind farm. The farm in question, located off of Rhode Island’s coast, is just about finished construction-wise and is expected to go into commercial operation this November. It has five turbines and will be a 30-megawatt wind farm.

What can cause safety communication breakdowns in construction?

Good communication between supervisors and workers plays many important roles at construction sites. It can help greatly with the coordination of tasks and ensuring everything that needs to get done does. It also is a key part of making sure all workers have the safety information they need.

Now, there are various things that could put a strain on good safety communication between construction workers and supervisors, potentially leading to a safety communication breakdown. Examples include:

  • Workers not understanding safety information that is being conveyed by a supervisor. This could come about in many ways, such as through: the information being confusing in nature, the supervisor not conveying the information in a way that is easy to hear and understand, language barriers or safety communications being rushed through.
  • Workers not having the opportunity to ask for clarification or present questions when being presented safety information by supervisors. This includes situations in which workers simply aren’t given the time to ask such things or in which the work environment is such that workers feel they cannot honestly express concerns or questions regarding safety to supervisors.
  • Workers being driven to tune a supervisor out when it comes to safety issues. Things that could cause this include a supervisor taking an overly negative tone when communicating on safety concerns or workers not trusting a supervisor.

Where Have All The Pirates Gone?

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Not so long ago, tales of pirates on the Indian Ocean were all the rage and merchant vessels traveling near the coast of Somalia were on high alert for violent attacks by pirates. 

The incidents were so common that they spawned a feature film starring Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips - in 2013. 

Today, tales of Somali pirates taking control of ships seem to have faded as quickly as they spiked. This begs the question: where have all the pirates gone? 

El Faro data recorder recovered from ocean floor

Some news has recently come up in connection to the ongoing federal investigation of a deadly sinking of a U.S.-flagged ship. Last October, the cargo ship El Faro sank in a hurricane around 41 miles out from the Bahamas. The vessel’s 33 crewmembers were killed in the accident. In the months since the sinking, the accident has been under investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

The recent news is that the sunken vessel’s voyage data recorder has been recovered. It was retrieved this Monday, during the NTSB’s second mission to recover the recorder. The recorder was at the wreck site on the ocean’s floor, around 15,000 feet below the surface.

Stair fall risks at construction sites

Risks of harmful falls can not only arise when a construction worker is working from a great height. They can also come up in less dramatic and less obviously dangerous-filled situations at construction sites. For example, construction falls can end up coming up in relation to stairs.

The situations under which construction workers could find themselves going up and down stairs during the course of their work are numerous. While stairs might not seem as potentially hazard-filled as other aspects of construction sites, falls from stairs can cause considerable harm to construction workers. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, stairs are a major contributor to injury-causing and fatal falls in the construction industry.

‘Green’ vessels the next big trend in shipping?

Concerns about the environment and emissions are present when it comes to a wide range of industries, including the shipping industry. A movement has come up in recent years aimed at bringing attention to environmental/emissions issues related to shipping and helping meet consumer demand for goods that are shipped in a “green” manner.

This movement is emissions-free shipping. Vessels from this movement can look like a blast from the past. This is because one of the methods used for propulsion when it comes to emissions-free ships is a very old vessel technology, sails. Given this, vessels of the emissions-free movement are sometimes older sailing vessels that have been retrofitted. Now, not all the systems aboard emissions-free cargo vessels are from the past. There are also more modern touches for using nature to meet a ship’s needs, such as solar panels.

Maritime Injuries: 6 Do's and Don'ts

You work hard to earn a living and do not have time to dig through law books to make sure you know your rights.

We get it.

However, in the event of an injury knowing some basic do's and don'ts can make all the difference in getting the compensation and benefits you need to recover.

Read these 6 simple tips and we'll take care of the rest.

Fighting To Protect What Matters Most

You are not the only one who suffers after a serious accident. Crushing medical bills and lost wages can be devastating to your family for years.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Speak To An Attorney, Get Help.