Insight

Wearing a Hard Hat Significantly Reduces Risk of Injury, Death on NYC Construction Sites

Construction Injury Prevention From Hard Hats
MM

Michele Mirman

December 9, 2019 08:00 AM

For the last century, hard hats have been a staple on construction sites across New York City. For good reason. Working in construction comes with a lot of risks. In fact, the construction industry is considered to be “one of the most dangerous occupations” a person can have.

That’s particularly true in New York City, where it seems like something on every corner is being renovated or built. In 2018, there were 761 reported construction accidents in NYC, 20 of which were fatal.

Why is it so dangerous to work on a construction site in New York? There are a lot of moving parts. There might be several laborers of various trades working on a site at one given time. That can create a safety nightmare, even when owners and general contractors take care to follow safety regulations and implement all necessary safety precautions.

Accidents can happen. A tool can slip out of someone’s hand as they’re working on elevated scaffolding. Materials can pile up and create a tripping hazard. Heavy machinery can malfunction.

There would probably be a lot more construction accident injuries if construction workers weren’t required to wear hard hats.

Nearly 10 Percent of Workplace Accidents Affect the Brain

Statistics show that traumatic brain injuries account for 9percent of all workplace accident injuries. One study found that, in the eight-year period spanning from 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers were killed after suffering a brain injury on the job.

Traumatic brain injuries can happen when a construction worker suffers an open or closed head injury.

A closed head injury typically happens when workers suffer blunt-force trauma to the head. The force of impactperhaps from a fall or being struck by a falling objectcauses the brain to move around inside the skull. When the brain makes contact with the hard bone, it can get damaged or destroyed.

An open head injury occurs when the skull, that typically protects the brain, is fractured or pierced. This might happen if a construction worker takes a nail in the head or is struck by a sharp falling object. The object passes through the skull and causes direct damage to the brain.

Wearing a hard hat can significantly reduce the risk of suffering a head and/or brain injury. Hard hats have a simple design. There’s a hard outer shellusually made of plastic or fiberglassand an internal suspension system. The outer shell sits a few inches above the head.

When a construction worker is struck by a falling object, the object strikes the hard hat, rather than the skull. The suspension system allows the shell to move toward the head while simultaneously absorbing and deflecting the force of impact. A construction worker may still sustain a relatively minor head injury. However, the injury will generally be much less severe than it could’ve been had the worker not been wearing the safety gear.

Redesigning Hard Hats to Protect Workers From Fall-Related Injuries

Falls are the leading cause of injury and death on construction sites. Many fall-related deaths involve elevated falls. Traditional hard hats aren’t really designed to protect construction workers in these situations. However, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that’s changing.

G. Scott Earnest, of the NIOSH, explains that hard hats are being redesigned. These next-generation hard hats “are a lot more like a helmet a mountain climber might wear, or a hockey player, or a kid on a bicycle.”

Bullard, the first company to ever design and sell a hard hat, will soon begin to roll out its newest design. The new hard hat will feature foam padding and integrated chin straps. These new hard hats are “similar to helmets, but designed for industrial workers, and with their input.”

Bullard and safety officials hope that the new design will help to cut down on the number of fall-related construction accident deaths in New York and across the country. Soon, when a worker falls, their helmet might be able to better protect them from devastating brain injuries and other trauma that is often fatal.

Construction Workers, Families May Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Work-Related Injuries

Hard hats can save lives and minimize the injuries a worker might sustain in a construction site accident. However, even redesigned hard hats can’t guarantee that workers will never get hurt on the job. Fortunately, construction workers in NYC can file a claim to recover monetary benefits from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.

These benefits are available regardless of who shares fault or responsibility for an accident. Injured workers can get much-needed compensation to cover medical bills and make up for lost wages while they’re out of work. In exchange for receiving relatively-prompt benefit payments, employers can generally avoid time-consuming and expensive lawsuits.

About the Author: Michele Mirman is an award-winning personal injury lawyer and founder of Mirman, Markovits & Landau, PC, a New York-based personal injury law firm. She has over 40 years of experience and has secured over $1 billion in awards and settlements for her clients.

Related Articles

Out of the Sky: What Construction Workers Can Do if Injured on the Job


by Justin Smulison

Construction zones with unsafe working conditions have long been the sites of injuries for workers. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. fights for victims in New York City and Long Island.

Advice for Injured Construction Workers

Leading Cause of Car Accidents in Alabama? Failing to Yield the Right of Way


by Mitchel Lattof

Failing to yield the right of way was the leading cause of car accidents in Alabama in 2018. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, failing to yield the right of way resulted in 23,832 crashes. Ninety-six of those crashes resulted in fatalities.

Shards of car glass on the street

How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident


by Craig D. Rosenbaum

Receiving medical attention after a car accident can be expensive. One personal injury lawyer details the steps to take when seeking medical attention after the accident.

Car Accident

A Potentially Precedent-Shifting Verdict


by Sean Stonefield

Preeminent trial lawyer Benedict Morelli on achieving one of the highest pain-and-suffering awards in New York State history.

Benedict Morelli

Overcoming Obstacles


by Sean Stonefield

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, personal injury firm Block O’Toole & Murphy is on track for its most successful year.

Block O'Toole & Murphy

The Winning Edge


by Justin Smulison

In its 40th year, Frantz Law Group finalized history-making settlements for clients in California and nationally.

Frantz Law Group

What to Do If You Become a Victim of Police Brutality?


by Edson Legal and Grillo Law

Two Toronto firms, one focusing on police brutality and the other on personal injury, give advice on what are the next steps you should take if you find yourself the victim of police brutality or abuse.

What Can You Do If You Are a Victim of Police

Trial Law Leadership


by Justin Smulison

Daniel J.T. Sciano, twice-named Best Lawyers® San Antonio “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs (2010, 2012), discusses how his record of success impacts clients and Texas’ legal community

Daniel Sciano Best Lawyers 2020

Big Case Warriors


by Best Lawyers

The co-founders of Lyons & Simmons, LLP discuss their relentless dedication to pursuing justice for clients while also invoking change.

Lyons & Simmons Best Lawyers 2020

Why Expert Help Is Essential After a Car Accident


by Ted Lorenz

An Attorney Can Help Investigate After an Accident

A Legal Expert Can Help After A Car Accident

Teamwork and Strategy


by Justin Smulison

In 2018, Block O'Toole & Murphy continued to secure multimillion-dollar results for injured victims and workers.

Block O'Toole & Murphy Gets Results

In the News: Georgia


by Nicole Ortiz

A summary of newsworthy content from Colorado lawyers and law firms.

In the News Georgia 2018

IN PARTNERSHIP

Battle-Tested Dedication for Truck Wreck Victims


by The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson

Courtroom legend Frank L. Branson and his team give a voice to the voiceless, representing victims of catastrophic trucking and motor vehicle accidents.

Man in suit stands with hands on chair

The Role of Medical Experts in Catastrophic Injury Cases


by Timothy A. Loranger

When catastrophic injury is the result of an accident, medical experts can play a crucial role in the legal process, providing transparency for all involved.

Doctor and nurse discussing an X-ray scan

IN PARTNERSHIP

Common Personal Injury Claims and the Importance of Hiring a Lawyer


by Joshua Michael Palmintier

The Palmintier Law Group sheds light on why it's crucial for individuals to hire legal representation when facing one of many different personal injury claims.

Hard hat on the floor with person in the background

IN PARTNERSHIP

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Lawrenceville?


by Yari D. Lawson

If you or a loved one have suffered from a crash, here’s why hiring a car accident lawyer in Lawrenceville, GA, is a good idea to ensure you get compensation.

First responders assessing a car accident scene

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition


by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Announcing the 16th Edition of the Best Lawyers in Germany Rankings


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany™, featuring a unique set of rankings that highlights Germany's top legal talent.

German flag in front of country's outline

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You


by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias


by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

Attacked From All Sides: What Is Happening in the World of Restrictive Covenants?


by Christine Bestor Townsend

One employment lawyer explains how companies can navigate challenges of federal and state governmental scrutiny on restrictive covenant agreements.

Illustration of two men pulling on string with blue door between them

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery


by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim


by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs

Georgia Proposes Law Requiring Parental Consent for Minors on Social Media


by Gregory Sirico

With data collection on the rise, Georgia lawmakers are currently petitioning for Senate Bill 351, which would require a user's age before social media use.

Teenager with hood on using phone as notifications pop up

Colorado Attorney General Calls For Cannabis Reclassification


by Gregory Sirico

In this article, Best Lawyers highlights a recent call to action by the Colorado state attorney general, requesting a full drug reclassification of cannabis.

Cannabis buds sitting on a checkerboard tabletop