Writer Urges Safety Overhaul of New York City Construction Industry
No matter where you go in New York City, construction is a fact of life. Most of us learn to deal with occasional inconveniences like delays and noise. Only when a major tragedy makes the news do we pay attention to the dangers construction workers experience. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned efforts to reduce injuries and deaths have not stopped the plague of accidents, so there is more work to be done.
Writing for The Libertarian Republic website, author Maggie Novak makes the point that while other employers, including New York City, provide extra compensation for dangerous jobs, men and women who face construction hazards every day are often at the bottom of the pay scale. She proposes several potential solutions to make the lives of construction workers better, including:
- Increasing worker pay in exchange for subsidies — Since many significant building and repair projects receive New York City subsidies like grants, bond financing, tax abatements or other support, Council Member Ben Kallos has proposed a bill requiring recipients to pay construction workers according to the wage and benefit rate set annually by the New York City controller for employers performing public works projects or building service work on city-funded sites. This would follow the example of the Affordable New York law, which instituted wage requirements in exchange for certain tax breaks.
- Requiring training and apprenticeship programs — The bill introduced by Kallos also calls for workers to be given classroom and practical training so that they are familiar with safety standards. Though developers complain that these measures would be unduly costly, preventing avoidable accidents through instruction and apprenticeship programs can cut down on insurance premiums, damage costs and lost worker time.
- Improving data collection and reporting — Despite new rules designed to protect men and women working on construction projects, injuries and accidents rose significantly in 2018. Even getting reliable statistics on construction fatalities requires knowledge of the different standards used by different agencies. For example, in 2017, the NYC Department of Buildings reported 12 construction deaths while the figure given by Occupational Safety and Health Administration was 20. The difference stems from the fact that OSHA tallies all fatalities while the city only counts deaths stemming from code violations.
No matter what caused your injury or the death of a loved one on a New York City construction site, finding a lawyer who is well versed in the way construction companies operate can help you maximize the value of a potential claim.
Barasch & McGarry works on behalf of individuals who have been hurt while working on New York construction sites as well as family members of victims who have died on a building or repair job. Please call 888.746.8212 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.