New report slams NYC's construction industry as unsafe
NYCOSH wants safety violators to face criminal charges
Although the construction industry accounts for less than four percent of the jobs in New York City, it represents 20 percent of the on-the-job deaths, according to a report released yesterday by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH).
"Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC" found the vast majority of fatalities occuring at non-union sites and among immigrant workers - particularly Latinos.
The report's key findings include:
- Falls from deadly heights make up half of the construction fatalities in New York State and 71% of all injuries in New York City.
- Immigrant and/or Latino workers and non-union workers are at the greatest risk of death - in 2012 79% of fatal fall construction accidents occurred at nonunion construction sites and 60% of fatal fall victims were immigrant and/or Latino.
- Violations in New York are routine - two-thirds of OSHA construction inspections in New York between 2010 and 2012 resulted in citations for "serious" safety violations. Despite this, city agencies continue to work with criminal contractors, 89% of contractors working on affordable housing projects have OSHA violations.
- OSHA has only 71 inspectors to monitor all worksites in all industries in New York City, meaning most sites are never inspected until a worker is injured or killed.
- OSHA fines for criminal contractors are little more than a slap on the wrist - the average penalty for fatal height-related construction accidents in 2012 was only $7,620.
NYCOSH, along with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Build Up NYC and El Centro del Inmigrante, are demanding the following:
- That public agencies to: stop awarding taxpayer dollars and public contracts to repeat safety offenders
- For prosecutors to use existing criminal statutes to go after contractors who violate safety regulations
- Increased resources for OSHA inspectors to spot problems before they become fatalities
- For elected officials to keep in place the Scaffold Safety Law, which holds those who control construction sites responsible if they fail to provide proper safety equipment and a worker is injured or killed as a result.