The Truth About New York State Construction Fatalities

According to the New York Committee for Occupation Safety and Health (NYCOSH), New York State construction fatalities are on the rise. NYCOSH went as far as to say the construction industry in New York is “highly dangerous”. Too many families have lost loved ones on construction sites in situations that were preventable. Often times employers cut corners to save time and resources, knowingly putting their employees at risk. Evidence shows employers routinely violate legal regulations put in place to prevent workers from serious injury and death, yet are regularly exempt from punishment or consequences.

NYCOSH’s report, “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State,” included the following key findings:

·         New York’s construction industry continues to be highly dangerous for workers, with high fatality numbers and high rates of fatalities in New York State. In 2017, the most recent data year available, 69 construction workers died in New York State, exemplifying a five-year trend of increasing fatalities in the State. New York State’s construction fatality rate has increased by 39% in the past five years.

·         In 2017, New York State had a 52% higher construction fatality rate than New York City. Over the past five years, the New York City fatal occupational injury rate in construction decreased by 23%, while the New York State rate increased by 39% over the same period of time.

·         Fatal falls continue to be the top cause of construction fatalities in both New York State and New York City. In all of New York State in the past ten years, 187 workers died in falls, which account for 49% of all construction fatalities. In New York City alone, over the past ten years, 78 workers died due to falls, which on average accounted for 46% of all construction deaths and 55% of construction deaths in 2017.

NYCOSH provided a set of recommendations intended to prevent future construction worker fatalities. The list includes solutions designed to address the situations that repeatedly result in serious injuries and fatalities, including dangerous scaffolds. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the vast majority of scaffold injuries are completely preventable. “72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards”- Osha.

NYCOSH’s list of recommendations also focuses on criminal contractors. NYCOSH recommends expanding criminal prosecutions of contractors statewide and using existing city power to suspend or revoke licenses and construction permits for criminal contractors. To view the full list of recommendations click here.

Every day construction workers report to job sites throughout the State. These hardworking individuals should have safe work environments and they should report to contractors who put their safety first, but all too often that’s not the case. If you or a loved one were hurt on a construction site in New York State contact us today. Our dedicated group of injury lawyers have collected millions in compensation for injured construction workers and their families.