If you’re injured as a New York City construction worker, you can seek workers’ compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and suffering.
This doesn’t depend on whether you were born in this country or you’re a documented or undocumented immigrant to the United States
Given recent trends in the city’s building industry, it’s never been more important for you to know your rights and remember what options you have if you’re injured.
Families suffer as blame goes around
Two recent articles report on the alarming increase in construction deaths and injuries in New York City.
Both articles suggest some of the blame can be assigned to the city’s hot construction market and to exploitation of its often immigrant workers.
CBS News reports that construction work is the deadliest job in New York City according to the city’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since 2014, worker deaths have increased by 33 percent while worker injuries are up by more than 220 percent.
These huge increases in the pain and suffering of workers and their families have many causes. CBS News cites many of them, but the information isn’t comforting.
The article claims the NYC construction boom has encouraged underbidding contractors to cut corners. Workers don’t receive safety training, safety precautions are lax, and regulations are ignored, the network says.
Of the 45,000 construction sites in NYC, something like 11,000 are not in compliance, according to an enforcement official at the city’s Department of Buildings.
A long feature by Documented spreads the blame more widely.
It asserts contractors rely on undocumented workers who are afraid to report violations, thus holding down the volume of complaints.
City inspection sweeps of have turned up many fake safety training cards given to workers by their bosses.
The Document feature claims the city keeps the focus on safety training for workers but continues to license companies having very serious safety violations, including 16 companies with worker fatalities.
What can you do if you’re injured
New York’s workers’ compensation laws do not permit your boss to blame you for a workplace injury. If you are an undocumented worker, your rights as an injured construction worker still mean that you can receive workers’ compensation.
You have the right to an attorney, to seek medical help, and to report the injury.