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Workers' Compensation for Ironworkers In New York

Ironworker injuries can be severe and permanently disabling

Next time you look at the skyline of New York City, you can thank the thousands of steelworkers and ironworkers who built these impressive buildings. Statewide, more than 3,400 people work as structural iron or steelworkers in New York, according to the most recent data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Among major metropolitan areas, the New York City area has the most structural iron and steel workers of any city nationwide, according to the BLS.

Unfortunately, workplace injuries involving structural steel workers often occur on New York job sites. And when they do, these workplace injuries can be serious due to the nature of such “physically demanding and dangerous work,” according to the BLS.

Fortunately, injured structural steel and ironworkers in New York are often eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which can help pay for medical bills, replacement income, and other accident-related expenses. Our New York City workers’ compensation attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP explain how the system works.

How common are structural ironworker injuries?

Unfortunately, work-related injuries involving structural workers who work with iron or steel often occur in New York and across the country. On average, 36.1 workers out of every 100,000 structural steel and iron workers die in fatal workplace accidents each year, according to the most recent BLS workplace injury data.

To put such numbers in perspective, according to BLS data, 3.7 workplace fatalities occur for every 100,000 workers nationwide in all industries. That means that structural iron and steel worker deaths are 9.7 times higher than the national average for all workers, making steel and iron work one of the most dangerous professions nationwide.

What are common causes of ironworker injuries?

Many structural iron and steel employees work high above the ground on scaffolding or other elevated surfaces or inside unfinished buildings, bridges, or other structures. This is why employers need to take preventative steps to create a safe work environment.

Unfortunately, some employers don’t take such steps, resulting in a dangerous workplace where accidents can easily occur. Some of the most common causes of work-related injuries involving structural steel and iron workers include:

  • Failure to provide structural ironworkers with proper safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, or safety harnesses.
  • Not providing safety training to structural steel workers.
  • Improperly assembled scaffolding, resulting in a scaffolding collapse.
  • Being struck by an object while working, including falling debris or unsecured equipment that falls from an upper floor or roof.
  • Slipping and falling, often due to unmarked hazards, resulting in a serious injury or fatality.
  • Falling from a height, which can be serious or fatal depending on where the workplace accident occurs and the height of the fall.
  • Being caught in between machinery or mechanical objects, such as cranes or other construction equipment, on the job site.
  • Poor lighting and other unsafe working conditions.

What are common structural steelworker injuries?

Several types of injuries are common among structural iron and steel workers, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), especially when ironworkers fall and hit their heads.
  • Skull fractures and other types of head injuries, which are especially common in falls from a height and slip and falls.
  • Spinal cord injuries and other types of back injuries, which often occur when structural steel workers fall off of scaffolding or another high work surface.
  • Bone fractures, including multiple broken bones in the arms, hands, and legs.
  • Burn injuries, which can occur due to coming into contact with a hot surface or open flames involving welding equipment.
  • Eye injuries caused by objects piercing the eye, an explosion or falling debris.
  • Hearing loss injuries due to exposure to loud construction equipment, such as jackhammers, saws, or large construction equipment or vehicles.
  • Repetitive stress injuries, caused by doing the same work for several hours each day, which can be very common with certain structural iron or steel jobs.

Are all injured structural ironworkers eligible for workers’ compensation?

In general, nearly every injured structural steel and iron worker in New York is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This is because most employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance under the New York Workers' Compensation Law.

Created in 1922, New York’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits to people who become sick or injured due to work-related injuries or illnesses. As briefly explained above, such benefits often include financial compensation for medical care and replacement income if someone cannot work due to their work-related injury or illness.

In addition, eligible workers’ compensation recipients can receive job training if they can no longer perform the work they do due to a work-related injury or illness. If their new job does not pay as much, they should be eligible to receive supplemental income to offset their loss of pay due to performing a lower-paying job.

What legal protections do structural steel workers have in New York?

There are many state and federal laws designed to protect the health and well-being of structural steel and iron workers in New York. If such work requires someone to work on scaffolding, New York Labor Law, Section 240 (often called the “scaffold law”) has detailed rules and guidelines that employers must follow when employees are working on scaffolding or any elevated work surface.

In addition, the Division of Safety and Health for the New York State Department of Labor has many regulations that apply to companies that employ structural iron and steel workers. As for federal regulations, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has many rules that apply to such work. Many of these federal guidelines can be found in OSHA Standard 1926, including OSHA Standard 1926, Subpart R (Steel Erection).

What other legal options do injured ironworkers have in New York?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, some injured structural steel and iron workers in New York may be able to obtain additional financial compensation in addition to workers' compensation benefits. This is done by filing a third-party claim against a negligent third party.

This scenario is common at construction sites, where several different companies are often working at the same site. If someone working for another company caused your work-related accident, you may be able to take legal action and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Keep in mind that in most cases, you cannot sue your own employer if you get hurt at work in New York. That’s why workers’ compensation exists. However, there are certain situations where you may be able to take legal action against your own employer, especially if gross negligence is involved.

So, what’s the best way to know what to do in your specific situation? Talk to an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer at our law firm as soon as possible.

Why should I hire a New York City workers’ compensation attorney?

Even if you can receive workers’ compensation after a workplace accident, don’t assume you will automatically receive the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you could potentially be eligible for additional financial compensation.

Our New York City workers’ compensation lawyers at the Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP can carefully review the details of your workplace accident and explain your available legal options in plain language. This will help you make informed decisions about what to do next.

Get the law firm that fights for injured ironworkers in New York. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a workplace injury attorney you can count on in a crisis. We have 12 conveniently located offices in New York, including five in New York City.

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