A report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), an advocacy group released a report this year found fatal injuries in the construction industry increased statewide from 50 in 2014 to 71 in 2016 from 50 in 2014. The good news is construction worker deaths in New York City declined from 28 to 21. The leading cause of death was falls, which accounted for 48 percent of the state’s construction worker deaths from 2007 to 2016. The majority of deaths occurred on non-union sites.
NYCOSH also analyzed OSHA inspections in New York state from 1986 to 2017 and found the inspections decreased 62%. “That decrease in inspections coincided with a substantial increase in the population and number of worksites over the same period of time,” according to the report
Of the work sites inspected by OSHA in 2016, they found safety violations at 82% of the work sites. The report claims, “Employers regularly endanger their workforce by disregarding regulations, and workers die as a result.”
The report does offer recommendations on how to lessen fatalities and injuries:
- Require construction training and certification for New York state construction workers.
- Establish funding streams for construction safety training programs in New York City.
- Maintain and support laws that protect workers, such as the Scaffold Safety Law and Carlos’ Law.
- Use existing city power to suspend or revoke licenses and construction permits for criminal contractors.
NYCOSH director Charlene Obernauer wrote in a press relase“We need to take action now to end the crisis of rising construction fatalities in New York state.” These deaths are almost always preventable and could be deterred by passing sensible legislation in New York state and by protecting existing legislation, such as the Scaffold Safety Law, that protects workers.”