NYC construction workers and their families commemorated the 16 hard hats who died and the many others who were injured in construction accidents in New York City last year in a mass held at St Patrick’s Cathedral last Thursday. The hardhat procession into the cathedral was followed by a memorial service in the cathedral. In an emotional celebration, families and friends commemorated the 16 workers who died on construction sites between April 28 2018 and April 28 2019. Among the workers who died 13 were non unionized construction workers, 2 of them unionized workers and one was a security guard. 16 empty chairs with a hard hat and a rose were installed in the front of the church with the name of each deceased worker.
The construction industry has more deaths than any other industry in New York City and in the US as well. As the construction market is booming in the city so do construction accidents injuries and fatalities. According to city data, compared to 5 years ago, deaths of construction workers are up 33 % and injuries 221% in New York City. This month only, 3 construction workers lost their lives over a period of one week.
Non unionized workers are the most at risk of dying on New York Construction sites
A majority of victims are non unionized workers often hired by contractors who are trying to cut corners wherever they can to be more competitive. Workers are often pressured to complete tasks quickly to fit short deadlines and then accidents occur. Among the 45,000 active construction sites in the city, it is estimated that a quarter of them do not comply with legal safety standards.
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths among construction workers who are not unionized, a new law that was passed last year now requires all construction workers in New York City to receive 30 hours of site safety training by June 1, 2019 and an additional 10 hours of training by September 1.