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1/3 of New York City’s 2015 Construction Deaths Weren’t Counted

NYC agency only tracks deaths that involve violations of the city’s construction code

September 13, 2016

In today’s Crain’s New York Business is an article detailing how the city failed to recognize six construction site fatalities in its official 2015 Construction Related Injuries and Fatalities count.

Why not?

The NYC Department of Buildings counts only fatalities that involve a threat to public safety—that is, to people other than construction workers.

Within that structure, the NYC agency didn’t include the death of a construction safety coordinator crushed by a crane, or the fatal injury an ironworker suffered when he fell from a ladder onto concrete, or the death of a cement truck driver who was killed when he became entangled in the truck’s drive shaft.

The Crain’s article says the New York building department classifies fatal accidents according to its jurisdiction based on its interpretation of a 2013 lawsuit, Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York, which said that city buildings regulations protect the public as well as workers.

And here is another interesting fact: In 14 of the 15 cases in which OSHA issued serious violations (one case is still open and another closed without violations), the contractors cited were nonunion—fueling a debate over whether union sites are significantly safer and whether the city’s affordable-housing program should mandate union-level wages. Unlike OSHA, the Buildings Department does not collect data on whether construction sites are union.

Read Crain’s article Despite Safety Push, Many Worksite Deaths Go Uncounted  here.

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