Approximately 72 percent of the 36 construction workers killed on the job in New York City last year died at sites where workers did not participate in state-approved training and apprenticeship programs, according to a report released today by Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group.
“The Price of Inaction: The Cost of Unsafe Construction in New York City,” estimates the economic impact to New York City of fatal construction injuries in 2011 and 2012 at more than $180 million.
The New York City Council is currently considering the Safe Jobs Act (Intro 1169-2013), which would require training for all construction workers on taxpayer-funded projects (currently the requirement covers only people employed under city contracts).
It also would require construction companies to disclose violations of labor, safety and health, or tax laws – a provision Public Citizen says would give greater transparency to the process of awarding projects to developers and contractors.
Additionally, the bill would mandate apprenticeship programs for construction companies working on projects larger than $1 million that are taxpayer-supported.
“Most construction workers are being put at far more risk than they ought to be, and it doesn’t have to be that way,” said report author Keith Wrightson of Public Citizen. “We owe it to construction workers to improve safety policies, and expanding training requirements would be an effective change.”
While the existing laws set training requirements for construction contractors under city contracts, the city also funds construction projects through “public benefit corporations,” entities that publicly finance projects through tax incentive financing. These projects lack the same worker training requirements as projects under city contractors.