Worker fatality rate soars in NYC by over 50%.
A new report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH) brings troubling news. The number of construction workers killed in New York City rose 54% in 2021 from 2020, and the state saw a 49% increase in construction fatalities overall.
NYCOSH, an advocacy group, gathered data from multiple sources for its findings, including the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York State Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and numerous media reports.
Dangerous conditions & more deaths
In 2021, 20 construction workers in NYC died in workplace accidents, compared to 13 in 2020. Statewide, there were 61 deaths in 2021, up from 41 the year before.
"New York state is a leader for many things, but construction fatalities should not be one of them," said NYCOSH Executive Director Charlene Obernauer. "Construction workers continue to work in avoidably dangerous conditions because not enough funding is going toward inspections and enforcement, on both the city and federal level."
The organization makes 10 recommendations to improve worker safety:
- Require construction training and certification for New York State's construction workers.
- Preserve New York's Scaffold Safety Law.
- Utilize Carlos' Law to increase penalties against criminal contractors.
- Expand criminal prosecutions of contractors statewide.
- Use existing city power to suspend or revoke licenses and construction permits for criminal contractors.
- Double OSHA's budget.
- OSHA must issue a permanent infectious disease standard for all workers, including its own.
- Increase funding to the New York City Department of Buildings.
- Mandate subsidy procurement reform and responsible contracting in New York State and New York City.
- Protect Latinx and immigrant workers proactively.
A link between violations and workplace deaths
The report also found that OSHA violations coincide with construction worker fatalities and do not prevent violators from receiving government subsidies. NYCOSH found that employers had coinciding violations 96% of the time on OSHA-inspected job sites where workers have died.
It also found that contractors are receiving state and city subsidies despite "egregious health and safety violations."
It's clear that not enough is being done to protect construction workers in New York City and throughout the state. Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP encourages state and city lawmakers to take all necessary actions to improve workers' safety and reduce fatalities.
An experienced construction attorney can get results
There is no doubt that construction is dangerous work. But employers have a responsibility to take steps to protect workers from harm. When construction workers are hurt on the job, our firm fights for their rights.
Our attorneys understand the impact that a workplace accident can have. We fight to ensure that workers and their families receive all of the workers' compensation benefits they are entitled to receive. We fight for workers at all hearings and appeals before the New York State Workers Compensation Board.
And if a third party was responsible for a worker's injury or death, we can take legal action to recover financial compensation. Our legal team investigates workplace accidents to get the facts and build strong cases that hold negligent parties accountable.
If you were injured in a construction accident in New York or lost a loved one, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation at one of our offices.