With the warmer temperatures, construction work increases in New York. CBS New York reports that construction worker fatalities are also on the rise, but not necessarily because of the weather. According to data gathered by the city, deaths on construction work sites are 33% higher than they were five years ago. Injuries have increased by 221%.
Some of the increase may be due to the sheer number of work sites in the city: about 45,000. However, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Buildings stated that one-quarter of that number are not complying with safety standards. Construction companies compete fiercely to win jobs; many contractors underbid jobs and then make a profit by hiring cheap labor, forgoing safety training and failing to provide workers with safety equipment.
According to The Real Deal, New York Real Estate News, Local Law 196 of 2017 should already have been implemented this past November. The first phase in this safety legislation requires all construction workers to complete 30 hours of training from an approved program.
Eventually, workers would be expected to finish a total of 100 hours. However, delays in implementation arose from claims the law is unfair to non-unionized workers because they may not have the same resources available to them. Union members often have the option to participate in apprentice programs that offer approved training hours.
Three construction worker deaths in April 2019, have drawn attention to the need for the immediate implementation of the law. The third incident involved a falling crane counterweight that struck at least two workers, fatally injuring one and sending the other to the hospital. Conditions on that job site had already prompted two safety complaints with the Department of Buildings before the crane accident.