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NYC construction is booming — and construction deaths are spiking

There is no other way to put it, construction is booming in New York City. In fact, according to the city Department of Buildings (DOB), there were 168,243 construction permits issued last year, which is an all-time high.

The unfortunate downside of this recent boom, however, is that construction accidents are also increasing dramatically. Indeed, a recent report by the New York Post found that construction-related deaths in New York City have doubled, not to mention that injuries have also spiked 17 percent.

An intro into New York lead paint laws

Earlier this summer, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) found itself marred in controversy when federal prosecutors filed a complaint claiming the agency woefully failed to comply with several crucial lead-paint regulations.

While this lead-paint debacle surprised many, it also served as a wake-up call for many New York residents — particularly those with children. Given that dust from lead paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning among children, New York parents need to familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations that govern lead paint here in New York.

Does my building have lead paint? Maybe.

Earlier this summer, the New York City Housing Authority — otherwise known as NYCHA — came under fire when federal prosecutors filed a complaint claiming the agency failed to comply with several important lead-paint regulations. In fact, the federal government went as far as to accuse housing officials of misconduct and outright lies when managing the nation’s largest public housing system, which serves at least 400,000 New Yorkers.

While NYCHA ultimately admitted that it failed to meet its obligations to inspect for hazardous leads, according to a New York Times report, this admission has done little to reassure much of the public that this grave problem will be rectified soon.

Will prosecutorial misconduct commission become a reality in NY?

Even though the legislative session may be over in New York, there are still some bills waiting for Gov. Cuomo’s signature, including one that seeks to create a commission charged with investigating allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

This particular bill — otherwise known as Senate Bill S2412D — was sent to the Governor’s desk on August 8, and many groups, including several past victims of wrongful convictions, are urging him to sign it.

Construction deaths are up, so why are OSHA fines so low?

As we've discussed in recent months, a damning report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has found some distressing - and deadly - trends in the construction industry in New York. According to the report, entitled Deadly Skyline, New York construction fatalities have increased by almost 30 percent in the last five years, with a record-breaking 71 construction worker deaths reported in 2016 alone.

This alarming upward trend begs the question: what can be done to stop it? One solution proposed is to increase enforcement of existing construction laws and compliance, a job often done by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, OSHA seems to have abandoned its post, at least according to the NYCOSH report. The question then becomes: why?

Victim of wrongful conviction free after more than two decades

A 41-year-old Brooklyn man is now free after spending more than two decades in prison for a crime he claims he didn’t commit.

This particular case is merely the most recent overturned conviction in a long line of cases involving retired NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella. According to a recent report by the Daily News, the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) has already overturned nine cases linked to Scarcella, with 30 more cases yet to review.

Common causes of explosions and fires at construction sites

Think explosions only occur in the movies? You had better think again. The reality is that explosions occur far more often than many people realize, and in a variety of places — including workplaces.

In fact, according to the most recent numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, explosions and fires accounted for 88 work-related deaths in 2016 alone. While this death toll was a decrease from the year before, it is still alarming, particularly if you work in some of the more dangerous occupations, such as construction.

Scaffolding law survives another legislative session

Despite repeated attacks, New York’s Scaffolding Law has survived yet another legislative session. In fact, while this law continues to come under fire in the media by some lawmakers and certain “pro-business” groups, not a single bill was introduced this year — let alone passed — that would have eliminated this very important construction safety law.

For those who are unaware, the Scaffolding Law — otherwise known as New York Labor Law §240 — was originally enacted in the 1880s to protect construction workers who were working high atop the city’s burgeoning skyline.

3 groups of construction workers who are most at risk of death

While everyone knows construction work can be dangerous, many don’t know just how dangerous. According to a report issued earlier this year by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the fatality rate among construction workers in New York State has skyrocketed in the past five years — far outpacing the increase in actual construction jobs.

In fact, the report, which was appropriately entitled “Deadly Skyline,” found that the fatality rate among construction workers in New York was 4.6 times the fatality rate among all workers. Even worse, the rate of construction worker fatalities increased by an alarming 41.5 percent over the last five years in New York.

Do plea bargains prevent wrongful convictions? Yes and no.

Conventional wisdom would dictate that those who plead guilty to crimes must be guilty of them. Why else would someone accept punishment for something they didn’t actually do? However, new research finds that in America at least, this natural link between guilt and plea bargaining isn’t always so ironclad.

Research gathered by Injustice Watch’s Trading Away Justice project finds that over 90 percent of criminal cases end in a plea bargain of some kind. Plea bargains offer defendants a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea or allow them to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

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