Why are so many construction workers in New York City (NYC) getting hurt and killed? Construction work has always been a hazardous occupation, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that construction workers in the city are now more likely to be killed in a work-related accident than workers in any other industry.
In 2019, worksite deaths in construction in NYC had risen 33% in just five years, while nonfatal injuries had increased 221% over the same period. There have been some high-profile accidents, including cranes being toppled and killing workers and workers being killed by falling debris, but those seem like outlier events when compared to the general statistics.
So, what’s behind the rise in all the accidental deaths and injuries? It depends on who you ask. Authorities from the Department of Buildings say that many construction workers aren’t being properly trained on safety in the first place. They estimate that 25% of the approximately 45,000 construction sites in the city aren’t in compliance with training regulations.
Others say that the city’s age is a problem. Buildings and infrastructure are in disrepair, and there aren’t enough construction workers to keep up with the demand. Crumbling buildings are treacherous, and the push to get things done encourages many construction workers to take unnecessary risks. Some also say that new construction could be adding to the problem. Essentially, the building boom could be happening so fast (and workers are spread so thin) that it’s putting workers in increasing danger.
Whatever the cause, there’s likely no easy solution in sight. While city officials say that they intend to crack down on companies that aren’t providing adequate safety training, some companies will play the odds knowing that inspectors are few and sites to inspect are many. If your loved one is killed or injured in a construction accident, find out what legal rights you have to compensation.