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Examining Workplace Fatalities in New York

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Last week we wrote a blog post on the recent workers’ memorial, held on April 28. In today’s post, we will examine the report that was released that day by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). Although that report focused on construction fatalities, it also addressed worker deaths in other industries as well.

Some of the general findings of the report include:

  • Older workers died on the job more frequently. Workers age 55 and over made up 38 percent of New York State workplace fatalities in 2012. In the same year, 20 percent of fatalities were among workers 65 and older.
  • Self-employed workers died more frequently. In 2012, seven percent of workers were self employed, but they accounted for 28 percent of workplace fatalities. This represents an eight percent increase from 2000.
  • Deaths among Latinos were out of proportion to their numbers in the New York workforce.
  • Immigrants died at higher rates than non-immigrants.
  • More than one-third (38 percent) of the deaths occurred in New York City. This is a smaller proportion than might be expected from the relative population numbers: NYC has 42 percent of the state’s population.

In a subsequent blog, we will discuss in detail the recommendations of the report with respect to safety, training and new safety laws and rules. In particular, the report examines how the 196 worker deaths in 2012 might have been prevented had employers focused more on the safety of their workers. It also touches on the restrictions under which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) operates – small fines and weak enforcement authority.