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Construction Accidents on the Increase in New York

In a previous post, we discussed the Texas construction industry and its practices that are detrimental to workers. In this post, we take a look at New York construction accidents. Are we really any safer than our neighbor to the South?

The short answer is that working construction in New York is probably safer than in Texas. There are protections in place for employees, and workers who experience injuries from construction accidents are better positioned to obtain compensation if they are injured on the job. However, as in Texas, working construction is still very dangerous and seems to be getting more so, even in New York.

For example, in 2012, New York City construction worker fatalities increased over the previous year. In 2011, there were six worker deaths in New York; in 2012, there were 21. These deaths were caused by building collapses and falls, falling equipment and unsecured debris. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2008, according to an OSHA report.

Of the fatalities, 72 percent of construction accidents occurred on non-union worksites, reinforcing statements from the Building Trades Employers Association that union sites are inherently safer than non-union sites.

The largest number of deaths occurred in Manhattan, with nine fatalities in 2012. Brooklyn and Queens had four deaths each, the Bronx had three and Staten Island had one.

Construction is the second-most dangerous industry in the city, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, in 2011, only the trade, transportation and utilities sector had a higher number of fatalities.

Sources: The New York Post, “New York City Construction Worker Deaths Rose to 21 in 2012,” Apr. 7, 2013; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Fatal Work Injuries in New York City – 2011,” Dec. 5, 2012.