According to an online news report posted on commercialobserver.com, a new report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) reveals that construction worker fatalities in New York state in 2021 were higher than the previous year and surpassed pre-pandemic deaths. The report titled “Deadly Skyline” highlights that 61 workers lost their lives on construction sites in New York in 2021, a 9 percent increase compared to 2020. This is in contrast to the nationwide trend, which showed a 2.2 percent dip in on-site fatalities, according to the US Department of Labor Statistics.
New York City’s average rate of deaths stood at 11.2 per 100,000 workers in 2021, while the national average was 9.4 per 100,000 workers. Although it may seem unfair to compare construction worker fatalities to 2020 due to pandemic-related shutdowns, the average number of fatalities in 2021 was significantly higher than in the past ten years, during which 53.6 workers died annually.
Hispanic workers, who comprise only 10 percent of the construction workforce in the state, suffered more significant losses in 2021, with 25.5 percent of on-the-job fatalities occurring in this group.
The data used in the report comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the New York City Department of Buildings, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the state Department of Labor.
To improve data on construction worker deaths, New York lawmakers passed the Workplace Fatalities Registry bill in February 2022, which requires employers to report the time and cause of death to the New York State Department of Labor. Additionally, NYCOSH is pushing for the passage of Carlos’ Law, which would subject developers to fines of $500,000 to $1 million in felony cases when unsafe conditions lead to a job site death instead of the current $100,000 fine. The law would also impose fines of $300,000 to $500,000 for misdemeanors.
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