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Working in the Winter? What Seasonal Construction Accidents to Avoid

Traditionally, the winter months in New York were a time of little activity in the construction industry, but better technology, equipment, and best practices are changing that. Many construction projects are continuing into November, December, and beyond.

While this year-round approach to construction is great for productivity and project timelines, it does create some complications for workers and employee safety. Spring is statistically the high season for construction accidents, but there are certain incidents that are more likely and frequent during the winter months than other times of year. By percentage, construction sites see more slip and fall, electrocutions, and similar construction accidents during the winter. At Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., we point to some of New York’s most common seasonal accidents.

Frostbite, Hypothermia, Trench Foot, Oh My!

Logically, one of the biggest causes of winter construction accidents is the change in temperature. While New York enjoys temperate springs and hot summers, the weather becomes frigid and unrelenting during the winter. In upper parts of the state, it is common for snowfall to last for weeks. In these lower temperatures, accidents and injuries from the cold are a true concern on any construction site.

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause frostbite. This condition is actually the freezing of the skin and underlying tissue. A medical professional can treat certain cases of frostbite for a full recovery, but the condition can also cause permanent injury. Signs of frostbite include numbness, particularly in the extremities, nose, or earlobes; severe tingling or pins and needles; redness that develops into gray or white skin tones; and hard or waxy looking skin.

Another common construction accident from the cold is hypothermia. While similarly caused by extended exposure to intense cold, the symptoms and condition of hypothermia are quite different from frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops lower than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the results are unconsciousness, and when severe, death. Some signs of hypothermia are shivering, slow or difficult breathing, drowsiness, confusion, and slurred speech.

Finally, there are temperature-related construction accidents more common on sites where digging, excavation, and soil removal are occurring. For example, where a foundation is dug and poured. One of the most well-known is trench foot. Trench foot occurs when there is exposure to both cold and wetness, most commonly in the feet and hands. Due to the freezing temperatures, the blood vessels in the feet constrict, impeding circulation. Swelling, blisters, and numbness are all signs of this serious condition.

Slip and Falls on Icy Surfaces and Snow

Slip and falls are frequent construction accidents at any time of year. There are constant hazards that can lead to hazardous circumstances or slippery surfaces, but these conditions are made more dangerous by icy surfaces or snow accumulation. As a construction accident law firm in New York, our team worries more about slip and falls more at this time of year than any other because of the additional hazards. Here’s what can go wrong on any construction site.

Ice is already more likely to accumulate on certain surfaces, many of which are found on construction sites. Ladders, scaffolding, stairs, and work platforms are some of the places to carefully inspects before beginning work. Icy surfaces lead to fractures, head injuries, neck and back injuries, concussions, and other serious construction injuries that may require legal advice on lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims.

When there is ice or snow on an active construction site, it should be cleared or clearly marked for any workers. However, snow and ice removal present a different set of dangers. Each year there are a number of construction accidents directly related to the removal of snow and ice. Most people associated these injuries with falls from ladders and work platforms, but heart attacks from overexertion are another worrisome result of shoveling snow.

It is important for any contractor or construction company to both ensure safe working conditions and physical fitness of the employees handling snow removal during a New York winter.

Take Action if a Construction Accident Occurs

There are a number of safety requirements and best practices that can limit the number of construction accidents during the winter. In fact, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has an entire list applicable to traditional construction sites and other workplaces. However, some construction accidents are just that – accidents. They result from employee fatigue or carelessness or are caused by conditions beyond a worker’s control.

When a construction accident does occur in New York, you should seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer. For example, at Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., we can arrange an initial consultation immediately and begin advising on your accident and options soon after. Ready to seek assistance for a seasonal construction accident? Call us today at (212) 843-0907.


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Law Office of David S. Leigh
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David S. Leigh

David S. Leigh is a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer committed to helping those in the New York Metro area recover and find fair compensation after an accident or injury. 


David has helped my small business (photography) with several proposals and bid letters. He also took the time to explain the language of each letter. I would definitely use David again for all the legal needs of my business! William F Spencer
William Spencer
William Spencer
21:58 30 Aug 16
I worked with David while at the District Attorney's office. David is very knowledgeable in the law. David has outstanding attention to detail and the critical ability to see the big picture, then find and question the inconsistencies in the reports. This is a fundamental skill that makes a good criminal defense lawyer great. I highly recommend David.
Greg Green
Greg Green
20:27 07 Oct 15
David is a tireless advocate for his clients and a consummate professional with whom I've worked on a variety of legal matters. His character and integrity surely set him apart from many of his contemporaries. As colleague, I wholeheartedly recommend David to anyone seeking counsel in the NYC area.
Hari K. Singh
Hari K. Singh
13:32 05 Oct 15
David is a first-rate trial lawyer. Having had the opportunity to both watch him in trial and personally try a case with him, I can say that I would be glad to have him working with me on a case. His delivery is excellent, as is his ability to connect with a jury.
Bryce Allen
Bryce Allen
21:13 15 Nov 15
Knowledgable and great to work withI can't say enough good things about David. My husband needed his help with language for documents he'd need for his business. David was knowledgeable and told us exactly what we needed to hear. I can't think of anyone else I'd want to work with. The next time we need legal counsel, we're calling David.
Yahaira Castro
Yahaira Castro
14:41 28 Sep 15
I was looking for a personal injury lawyer and a friend of mine referred me to David. David is really smart and also great to work with. He really listens to you, works hard and he knows how to get results.
Lili Grossman
Lili Grossman
17:36 29 Oct 18
When my mother suffered back and shoulder injuries due to a car accident, Mr. Leigh went above and beyond to make sure she was rightfully compensated for her traumatic ordeal. He was tough with the insurance company yet very patient with my older mom, as he navigated her through these complex negotiations. He exemplifies what a personal injury attorney should be and we highly recommend him.
Max Patino
Max Patino
19:02 29 Oct 18
David is a top-notch lawyer who is very diligent in all that he does. He is not only a sharp legal mind, but actually has interpersonal skills that make him a caring advocate for his clients. I have had the privilege of working with David in private law practice and can easily say that few attorneys match him in personability, advocacy, verbal ability, and in-court and deposition strategy.
Samae Rohani
Samae Rohani
01:40 30 Oct 18
I was helping my cousin find an attorney and came across David's firm. We contacted him immediately and scheduled a consultation. He was very thorough and provided us with all the details we needed.
03:27 20 Dec 18
Thoughtful, knowledegable and a great attorney. I needed some legal advice and representation. He was everything you could ask for in a lawyer. David is top notch and I would highly recommend him.
Marisa Osorio
Marisa Osorio
21:24 26 Dec 18
David Leigh is a top notch attorney that I have worked with closely. He has integrity, excellent legal ability, and is able to obtain optimal results for his clients. I recommend him wholeheartedly to anyone looking for the highest level of representation.
Stephanie Plana
Stephanie Plana
22:02 18 Jan 19


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