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As NYC construction booms, workplace safety continues to bust

AdobeStock_107123549.jpegSo far, New York has seen twice as many construction-related fatalities in 2018 than the same time frame in 2017. While four people died on construction sites in the Big Apple in 2017, this year has seen eight fatalities so far, according to the NYC Department of Buildings.

Injuries have also surged this year, increasing by 17 percent to a total of 457 construction accidents that injured 469 people. This comes at a time when construction is booming in New York - last year, there were a record 45,242 workers on NYC construction sites. But does an increase in workers justify an increase in fatalities?

What is being done to curb construction injuries and deaths?

In an effort to decrease construction-related accidents, many agencies and lawmakers have taken steps to bolster safety:

  • Mayor de Blasio approved legislation that increased training requirements for hardhats last year.
  • He also moved to increase penalties for safety violations and hire more inspectors. The Department of Buildings hired 140new inspectors in 2016.
  • Under a new law passed last year, the DOB is required to post information about construction injuries and fatalities online.

Despite these improvements, construction injuries and deaths continue to climb. "We can and must do better as a city to ensure proper training, on the job experience, coupled with the right to say no to danger," the sponsor of the legislation, Councilman Ben Kallos, told the New York Post.

A call for enhanced work safety

As New York's building boom demonstrates, our city is blessed with a strong economy and consistent growth. So why can't we protect our workers who get hurt on construction sites, on scaffolding, and because of asbestos? Is it unreasonable to expect property owners and construction firms to reinvest in the safety of their workers for the benefit of the entire city?

Our politicians must get it together -- faster and better than ever -- to create a zero-tolerance policy for construction safety. Until we reach a point where the people of New York are safe on the job, The Klein Law Group, P.C., will continue to advocate for their rights and help them seek justice after workplace injuries.

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