New York State’s construction death rate rises 9%

(©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier)
A report from New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has found that across the state, the construction fatality rate increased from 10.2% to 11.1% per 100,000 workers in 2020.

The report found that workers from Latin America or from a Latin American background were disproportionately likely to fall victim in New York State, with the group comprising 18% of fatalities but 10% of the population.

Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State concluded that construction accounted for 24% of all worker deaths, compared with 21% in the US as a whole.

It found that non-union jobs were the most dangerous, with 79% of deaths taking place at non-union worksites, and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted the lowest number of inspections in is history in that year, likely due to Covid-19.

The 2020 data is the most recent made available by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Diana Moreno, the executive director of advocacy group New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), said: “It is unconscionable that corrupt contractors and irresponsible companies profit at the expense of immigrant workers’ safety.

“Latinx and non-union workers must be able to make a living while staying alive. Community organisations like NICE train and educate workers to stay safe, but without stronger regulations, our efforts are not enough. We need the support and leadership of New York lawmakers to end this epidemic of fatalities in construction.”

Charlene Obernauer, executive director of NYCOSH, added: “New York should be a national leader in worker safety, but the data reveal that we continue to lead the nation in construction worker fatalities, despite Covid-19 shutdowns.

“Lawmakers must protect and expand safety regulations to hold negligent contractors and companies accountable when they endanger workers. While we are fortunate to have many strong protections on the books – such as the scaffold safety law – we still need stiffer consequences, and I urge lawmakers to act.”

Read the complete Deadly Skyline report here.

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