In a damning report, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health says that the vast majority of fatal construction accidents in New York City between 2010 and 2012 were preventable.
The study, released April 28th, 2013, compiled data from multiple sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows that out of all the industries examined, construction had the highest rate of worker fatalities by far. Construction accidents account for 19 percent of all job-related deaths. A whopping 53 percent of those construction fatalities occurred in New York City itself.
Additionally, the NYCOSH analysts concluded that the majority of fatal injuries occurred because of a lack of proper safety precautions and/or equipment on the job site. Relying on OSHA reporting, the study uncovered that there was at least one serious violation at 66 percent of job sites inspected. That means that nearly two-thirds of all job sites in New York were unsafe that we know of.
The study went further and tried to determine why the number of failed OSHA inspections was so high. Analysts concluded that the monetary amounts of OSHA fines for workplace violations were “much too small to incentivize employers to make workplaces safe.” In short, employers reduced worker safety to a numbers game. They decided that paying a small fine is better for their bottom line than shelling out more to fix or prevent safety issues before they were noticed by officials. In fact, the report calls fines levied after fatal construction accidents in New York “modest” and compares them with the “average” OSHA fine per cited non-fatal violation (just $12,000).
Perhaps most shocking, the report concludes that OSHA simply cannot safeguard construction workers in New York. The agency is overburdened and understaffed. I f it was forced to inspect every jobsite in New York, it’s estimated that it would take 103 years.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident at a jobsite, contact a New York City construction accident attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.