Earlier this year, thousands of people attended a service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to remember the 16 construction workers who died on the job in 2018.
Construction is a dangerous occupation, made more so because not all worksites in New York City comply with safety regulations.
There are 45,000 active building sites in New York City. Because many of the buildings are older, replacement is in order and construction is ongoing. Unfortunately, some contractors underbid jobs and cut corners wherever they can, which compromises worker safety.
Seconds make a difference
In April 2019, a woman lost her 66-year-old husband who was the foreman on a construction job on the Upper East Side. She told reporters that he had never before had an accident, but that “in one second his life was gone.” He was planning to retire in two more years. There were two other fatalities that month. One worker was crushed by a crane and another by falling debris. According to data provided by the city, fatalities at work sites have increased by 33% from 2014; injuries have soared by 221% over that same time period.
According to data from the Department of Buildings, about a quarter of the construction sites in New York are not in compliance with safety regulations. Currently, the city requires construction workers to have 10 hours of safety training. In 2020, that requirement will increase to 40 hours. Inspectors are working overtime to visit job sites. When they find workers who have not received proper training, they issue $5,000 fines to the contractor, the worker’s employer and the property owner.
Construction fatalities are devastating for families, but injuries can be equally devastating because many can cause permanent, life-changing damage. Any construction worker injured on the job should explore his or her legal options. Financial compensation can cover both current and future medical expenses plus pain and suffering, and more.