While everyone knows construction work can be dangerous, many don’t know just how dangerous. According to a report issued earlier this year by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the fatality rate among construction workers in New York State has skyrocketed in the past five years — far outpacing the increase in actual construction jobs.
In fact, the report, which was appropriately entitled “Deadly Skyline,” found that the fatality rate among construction workers in New York was 4.6 times the fatality rate among all workers. Even worse, the rate of construction worker fatalities increased by an alarming 41.5 percent over the last five years in New York.
Some construction workers are more at risk than others
It is important to point out, however, that while all construction work can be dangerous, certain groups of construction workers are more likely than others to suffer deadly accidents on-the-job. For instance, the NYCOSH report discovered that the following three groups were particularly at risk:
- Construction workers on non-union sites — 94.7 percent of all construction fatalities investigated by OSHA in New York State in 2016, and which occurred on private worksites, involved non-union construction sites.
- Older construction workers — Workers aged 55-64 are most likely to suffer a fatal work accident while working construction.
- Immigrant workers — Latino workers were 84 percent more likely than non-Latinos to die while working on construction sites with egregious (willful) OSHA violations in 2015.
Regardless of why these workers are at greater risk on the job site, the fact remains that everyone should feel safe at work. Just because a construction worker may fall into one of the groups above does not mean they deserve any less protection. Indeed, the exact opposite is true, particularly since they are the most at risk.