On April 28th, Workers Memorial Day commemorated those who have suffered and died on the job. The NY construction industry accounts for a large share of the deaths and injuries suffered by workers. While fatal construction accidents have declined by 23% in New York City over the last 5 years they increased by 39% in New York State. The main reason behind this discrepancy is the difference in regulations. While stronger regulations and an increase of enforcement and control could help reduce the construction safety crisis in New York State, businesses are heavily lobbying against them.
In New York City things are not perfect either ( 3 construction workers died over a one week period last month) but long term statistics indicate that new and old policies are helping in making construction sites safer for workers. In 2019 the funding for the New York City Department of Buildings increased to 189 million compared to 107 million in 2015. The Department was able to hire 700 more employees and increase the number of work-site inspections. The recent implementation of Local Law 196 that requires all construction workers to have a minimum amount of safety training before being able to work on a construction site in New York City will also be helpful in preventing dangerous injury and deaths.
Scaffold Safety Law
The Scaffold Safety Law (Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law) has proven to be one of the best way to protect construction workers from falls. Despite being constantly attacked by business interest, it is critical that this law be maintained as is and not weakened in any way. The Scaffold Law is a New York State law that holds employers and property owners fully liable when an employee becomes injured due to a gravity-related fall while working at high elevations without proper safety equipment. The scaffold law allows injured construction workers and their family to hold contractors and property owners accountable. Fall is the number one cause of fatalities in the construction accident industry therefore it is critical to protect construction workers against greedy employers trying to cut corners by neglecting safety equipment related to falls.
Read more in the New York Law Journal