Steep heights, the possibility of unsafe or unfamiliar conditions, and the use of heavy machinery, equipment and materials make the life of a construction worker in New York City a dangerous one. Though a vital and readily-available position for those looking for work, a laborer faces constant threats to their safety and well-being.
Though there are positions available, there is also a lack of skilled construction laborers – thus forcing contractors to hire unskilled employees or rely on smaller crews, which further increases the risk of injury on their job sites.
A report published by NYC Health, dating back to 2017, shows that construction fatality rates have dropped in the past two decades which is still five times higher than all other industries in New York City and the United States as a whole. This isn’t uncommon, as New York City construction death rates are historically higher than their counterparts across the country. In a six-year span from 2009 through 2014, the fatality rate increased from eight workers per 100,000 to 10.1 workers per 100,000.
This report, studying construction fatalities from 2007 through 2014, cites that 159 of the deaths were preventable and an average of 20 workers were killed on the job each year in New York City. Some eye-catching findings are listed below.
- The average age tied to the highest percentage of fatalities was 46 to 65 years old. In 2017, the average age of a New York City construction worker is 39 years old.
- High school/GED was the highest level of education completed for 53% of those who suffered a fatal injury.
- 99% or 158 workers who suffered a fatal injury were men. 1% or one worker was a woman.
- The race of those who were killed on the job was split more evenly that other categories, but White and Latino workers were victims most often.
- 61% of the victims were born outside of the United States.
The bottom line
Construction in an honorable trade to pursue, and one that can pay well. The average yearly salary for a New York City, Newark, or Jersey City construction laborer is $51,430. If you’re a contractor or foreman, set the standard and urge your workers to honor that standard to cut down on these fatal injuries. If you’re a worker, follow the safety guidelines to increase your chances of avoiding these traumatic situations.