The deaths of two construction workers from falls on Monday were tragic reminders of the dangers involved in construction work. One worker fell to his death at a site at 161 Maiden Lane, and the other at a work site at 400 W. 33rd St. Both construction sites have been previously issued safety violations and fines. Our thoughts are with the families of these men as they cope with this terrible loss.
Construction work is extraordinarily dangerous, and with the increase in building in New York there has been a corresponding rise in fatal accidents.The New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety’s 2017 report on construction fatalities found that 49% of deaths at construction sites were due to falls, and that up to 80%of the sites where these deaths occurred were non-union sites. Safety violations were found at nearly all of the fatal sites.
Despite the significant dangers of construction work, unfortunately some politicians are calling for repeal of worker safety laws, such as Labor Law 240. This is not the way to go. Watering down or eliminating worker safety laws so that large construction companies can cut costs and increase profits is wrong. What is needed is stronger worker safety provisions, and better enforcement, so that when construction workers leave home in the morning they can be confident they will arrive home safely after an honest day’s work.