Over the last three years, 39 construction workers in New York City have died in preventable workplace accidents. Most of the deaths occurred as the result of a lack of safety training. At first glance, this surge in worker deaths can appear to be correlated with the increase in new development over recent years. However, a 2015 study found that this is not the case – the worker deaths outpaced the expected rate of worker fatality for the rate of new construction.
In response to these deaths, a member of the City Council proposed legislation to require all construction workers on projects larger than three-family homes to undergo at least 40 hours of workplace safety training. Opponents to the legislation include the Real Estate Board of New York and immigrant worker advocacy groups, who argue that increased safety training requirements would reduce the number of job opportunities for immigrants in the construction industry.
Of the 39 construction workers whose deaths were examined in the 2015 study, most were immigrants. Among the workers who died in falls, 57 percent were Latino. Latinos comprise 30 percent of the workers in the construction field.
A Dangerous Field
Working in construction is inherently dangerous because it involves heavy machinery, materials, and physically strenuous labor. On many projects, workers have to climb to high platforms and face the risk of falling. Workers also run the risk of being burned, cut, or suffering an electrical injury.
There are many preventable factors that lead to injuries at construction sites. These factors typically revolve around maximizing a project’s profit, which involves cutting costs anywhere possible. Issues that can increase a construction worker’s chances of being injured or killed on the job include:
Accelerated projects that force workers to disregard safety procedures
A lack of safety training
A lack of supervision on the job
Safety training has multiple components. It teaches workers how to properly use the equipment at a work site so they avoid injuries. Safety training also teaches workers how to properly administer first aid to an injured worker and reminds them to report injuries to supervisors.
Currently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires construction workers working on projects 10 stories or taller to undergo at least 10 hours of safety training. There is no safety training requirement for those on smaller projects.
Philadelphia Work Accident Lawyers at The Law Office of Jeffrey S. Gross Represent Workers Injured on the JobIf you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact an experienced Philadelphia work accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross. Call 267-589-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.