The recent construction boom in New York has lead to a significant increase of hard hats dying on construction sites. These deaths could have been prevented if safety measures were proprely implemented and workers better protected. Among the workers who died this year, 9 fell because they weren’t proprely secured and several of them were crushed by improperly braced walls.
Unfortunately while the number of new construction sites has expanded significantly, the number of available site-safety inspectors has dropped. According to a Daily News investigation, there were 1,171 available inspectors in NYC in 2011 compared to 1,105 in 2014, a decrease of almost 6%. During that same period of time building permits increased by 18% from 121,000 in 2011 to 142,000 in 2014.
According to the NY Daily News, the rarity of site-safety inspectors has led to a tremendous increase of their rates. Some of them are routinely jumping to better-paying jobs in the middle of ongoing projects to snag higher pay creating dangerous conditions because there is no continuity. Retired inspectors are also coming back on the market because of the high rates but they are often too old for the job and sit behind a desk instead of actively inspecting the construction site. In some cases, contractors used fake safety inspectors. Last year the city busted two contractors who had hired a cook, a hotel bellhop and a hairdresser to sign off on safety reports.