The Truth About Construction Worker Fatalities in New York City

On May 11, 2015, the New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety issued a new report about the safety of New York City construction workers. As of the date of the report, nine New York City construction workers had already died from job-related injuries in 2015. The report, entitled Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC looked at the type of fatal construction accidents that occurred, who was most likely to be killed, and how future accidents could be prevented.

Some Key Findings About New York City Construction Safety

According to the report:

  • The construction industry accounts for fewer than 4% of jobs in New York State and for about 20% of job-related deaths.
  • Falls from heights on construction sites account for about 50% of all construction-related fatalities and 71% of all construction-related injuries in New York City.
  • Immigrant, Latino, and non-union workers are at greater risk of dying in a construction-related accident than other workers.
  • About 66% of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction inspections done in New York from 2010-2012 resulted in findings of serious safety violations and 89% of contractors working on affordable housing units had OSHA violations.
  • OSHA is understaffed. There are reportedly only 71 OSHA inspectors in New York City and many sites are not visited until someone is hurt or killed.

To solve these problems, the report encourages public agencies to:

  • Stop using taxpayer money on contracts for repeat offenders
  • Prosecute contractors who violate safety regulations
  • Increase finding for OSHA investigators
  • Keep the New York Scaffolding Law

The New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety believes that these steps may help prevent some construction worker injuries and fatalities.

What Else Can Be Done?

The New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety is not a governmental agency. It is a private group made up of workers, unions, workers' rights activists and health and safety professionals. The findings of the report have been reviewed and are supported by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and others. If you work in construction, or love someone who does, then we encourage you to share this post on Facebook or Twitter to help raise awareness about the issues and promote safety on New York City construction sites. Together, we can all make a difference and help prevent future construction tragedies. Call The Hofmann Law Firm Today at 212.465.8840 with questions or comments on your experience. 

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