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Construction accidents and deaths more likely on non-union sites

In New York City, there is currently a construction boom that is having a beneficial economic impact on businesses and on the thousands of individuals who are working in construction jobs. With that upswing in financial well-being, however, there is the problem of a steep increase of construction accidents and deaths within the past two years. Last week, thousands of construction workers got together to mourn the deaths of the 30 individuals who died during that period.

The event on Jan. 31 was not just a memorial; it was also a call to city officials for the implementation of increased safety measures to reduce the death toll. The President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, comprised of construction workers who are union members, announced that the group supports a proposed bill submitted by two City Councilmembers. If passed, the law would promote construction worker safety by requiring training in construction skills.

The group pointed out that well-trained workers are much safer and less prone to construction accidents. In addition, workers belonging to a union are required to undergo rigorous training programs monitored by the state Department of Labor. The statistics show a far greater number of accidents and construction deaths in the non-union workers.

A New York City committee concerned with occupation safety reported that 80 percent of the recent deaths were at non-union worksites. However, only 25 percent of overall construction work in the city is non-union. The Council bill proposes training requirements for both union and non-union workers.

The rapid pace of construction work in New York City appears to be continuing full force. This means that injuries and deaths from construction accidents will be a critical factor into the foreseeable future. A major existing remedy for seriously injured workers and for the estates of those who died in work accidents is the right to collect damages from negligent entities. The best way to find out whether a personal injury or death claim exists is to consult with an attorney familiar with construction accidents in the city.  

Source:, “NYC has the power to protect workers from construction accidents“, Gary LaBarbera, Feb. 1, 2017