According to a recent Daily News article, just 41% of construction workers in New York City identify themselves as Latino, but they account for a staggering 74% of fatalities from construction accidents. The Center for Popular Democracy compiled the report, which drew data from census figures and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statistics. Some attribute this disparity to safety violations being more common on job sites run by small, non-union contractors, which typically employ more immigrant day laborers. Further compounding the problem, immigrant workers may understandably be more reluctant to complain about safety hazards on the job site because they feel they could lose their job without repercussion or may even fear deportation. As a result, accidents and injuries occur. As Connie Razza, a representative of the group that released this report said, “Contractors aren’t taking simple steps to protect their workers… They are not providing the training and the safety equipment that are required by law”.
Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP is a New York construction accident law firm that represents workers hurt on the job, whether they be union or non-union, and regardless of their race or ethnic background. Some of firm’s multimillion dollar construction accident case results can be seen here. The firm is dedicated to obtaining maximum compensation for all construction injury victims, and to making all work sites safer by holding those in power (the owners and general contractors) responsible when they choose profits over worker safety. One of the best tools for holding these entities responsible for maintaining safe work sites is New York Labor Law Section 240(1). Unfortunately, as reported in this same Daily News article, many contractors are lobbying right now to dismantle that law, arguing that they might achieve higher profits. We must not allow these changes to occur; rather, we must maintain New York’s worker safety laws. This study shows us that accidents are not all inevitable. Contractors who employ more vulnerable workers – without union backing and who have a harder time insisting on safety protection – DO tend to take shortcuts on safety that lead to more injuries and fatalities. The statistics prove it. One of the best ways to effectively combat that dangerous practice is keep safety laws like Labor Law 240(1) on the books, so that ALL owners and contractors in New York are required to consider and implement proper worker safety protections on every single job, regardless of the origin of the workers on their sites. If we allow worker safety laws to be gutted, these already disturbing construction fatality statistics are sure to become even worse.
Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP has recovered over $700 Million for its clients by top personal injury verdicts and settlements, many of which have been for construction workers hurt or killed on the job. The firm routinely returns multi-million dollar results for its clients, and other lawyers throughout New York frequently refer their significant construction accident cases to Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP. The firm also fights outside the courtroom in Albany to maintain worker safety laws like Labor Law 240(1); not just for the benefit of its own clients, but to make New York a safer place for all laborers.