I read this article in the Daily News with a sense of terrible grief and outrage. New York is one of the great cities of the world, and construction is booming, yet we still cannot provide a safe workplace to the men and women who helping to move our city into the future. This is a disgrace.
I am very proud and gratified that my book, "English for Day Laborers and Construction Workers," that I offer free of charge to bona fide day laborer and neighborhood outreach centers, is being used as a teaching tool in Florida, and Georgia, and as far as Louisiana and California, as well as in our home state of New York.
I was thrilled to read in the Daily News that car wash workers will finally benefit from the strength and solidarity offered by union membership. We applaud these hard-working men and women for their courage in standing up to threats and pressure, and joining together to fight as one for decent working conditions.
As the American population continues to expand, we face a need to constantly improve and extend our living areas. As a result, the construction industry thrives, in New York and across the nation. Whether constructing housing, roads or commercial structures, the sight of an ongoing construction project is familiar to all Americans. Unfortunately, construction accidents are also common, and can result in serious injury or even death to those who work within this vital industry.
For the past 37 years, airline unions have sought the expansion of workplace safety protections for flight attendants. Late last month, U.S. labor and aviation agencies finally proposed doing just that. In essence, the most common workplace injuries and illnesses affecting flight attendants have been grossly under-addressed for decades. For the first time since 1975, flight attendants might finally be getting needed relief.
We frequently write about the working conditions that contribute to preventable employee fatalities. Thankfully, there is some optimistic news to report. In 2011, fewer employees experienced the kinds of catastrophic workplace injuries that ultimately lead to death than were suffered in the previous year. Though this may seem like a small victory, the statistic is hopefully the start of a positive trend toward greater safety in the workplace.
It is no secret that some industries are inherently more dangerous than others. The construction industry for example, can be a dangerous business. Our New York readers learned recently about a construction accident involving a crane, in which a construction worker was killed.
When conditions in a place of business compromise the safety of patrons, they usually also compromise the safety of employees serving those patrons. Recently, the engineering work completed by workers employed at two American Airlines bases and outside contractors compromised the safety of the airline's passengers and crew. Though workplace injuries can occur at any worksite, injuries occurring thousands of feet in the air can be particularly perilous.
We have previously written about why it is critically important for New York employers to fix safety hazards promptly. Failure to do so can result in completely preventable workplace injuries.