Twenty-nine workers died in construction accidents in New York during the 12 months ending September 30, marking a 61% increase over the previous year and a 5-year high, according to OSHA and the NYC Dept. of Buildings. Over half of the victims fell to their death, while falling material was the second most fatal cause.
Non-union, immigrant workers employed by small contractors suffered worst. The Manhattan director for OSHA decried the lax safety enforcement at construction sites, and acknowledged a connection between union presence and worker safety. "There’s no reason why nonunion workers should have a lower level of protection," he told the New York Times. "Obviously there’s a disparity here." The Building Department has promised more surprise site inspections, has created a special task force, and urges observers and workers to call 311 to report unsafe working conditions.
Of related interest:
- The US construction industry has 15.2 deaths per 100,000 workers according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
- A joint study issued by UCLA, the University of Illinois, and New York's New School University indicates that one in five day laborers throughout the U.S. is injured on the job each day, with especially heavy casualties in the construction trades.
- Currently the world's most dangerous city in which to work in the construction field may be Dubai, where the 39 fatalities recorded by the government in 2005 conflict with independent and external reports of up to 592 deaths.