April 26th marked the 10th Anniversary Memorial Mass for Deceased Construction Workers in New York City, better known as the Annual Hardhat Mass. At this mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral, all those killed on a construction site in New York City are remembered and revered.
Chairs were placed in the Cathedral with an engraved hardhat and a rose to signify each of the deceased workers who died from April 28 of the previous year till April 28 of the current year. At the end of the mass, the hardhat and the rose are given to the family members of each of the deceased workers.
This year, 19 chairs were placed in St. Patrick's Cathedral, symbolizing the 19 workers who died on a worksite over the past year. In the ten years of the Annual Hardhat Mass, 166 workers have died on New York City construction worksites; two small company business owners, one project manager and one architect.
That is an average of more than 16 construction worker deaths on city worksites each year. The names of the dead are read to the sacred tolling of the memorial bell.
Construction has one of the highest death and injury rates in the U.S. private sector. Most of the nonunion workers were undocumented Latinos with little or no safety training.