As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, fatal construction accidents in New York City and throughout the state have skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, 31 construction site deaths have occurred in the past 24 months.

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) released “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State,” in January 2017. In this report, the NYCOSH reports its findings related to construction site safety violations and provides recommendations for improvement.

Below is a summary of some key NYCOSH report findings and recommendations:

Findings

  • Construction workplace fatality rates are trending upward – 464 construction workers died on the job across the state between 2006 and 2015
  • Falls are the top cause of construction fatalities – In 2015, falls accounted for 59 percent of deaths in NYC and 49 percent statewide
  • Employers with worker fatalities violate health and safety laws – Safety violations were found at 90 percent of fatality sites in 2015
  • Nonunion construction sites are particularly dangerous – In 2015, 74 percent of fatality sites were nonunion

Recommendations

  • Require adequate education and training – OSHA’s 10-hour construction safety training program should be required for all New York City construction workers and apprenticeship programs should be mandatory for large projects.
  • Extend and defend protective legislation – Preserve the Scaffold Safety Law, pass the Elevator Safety Act that requires workers to be licensed, and pass the Criminal Contractors legislation to hold contractors responsible for negligence.
  • Expand monitoring and enforcement – Comprehensively analyze all construction fatalities, require companies filing for construction permits to submit history of past violations, establish effective penalties against contractors whose willful negligence causes a worker fatality, and look at revocation of licenses for employers who are convicted of felonies that cause a worker fatality.