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NYC construction worker deaths: Why are we skimping on safety during a building boom?

Construction workers are dying in increasing numbers. A recent New York Times opinion piece threw out a shocking number: There were 31 New York City construction fatalities, most of them on nonunion worksites, in the last two years.

Many people wonder why there are so many catastrophic accidents when machines are more sophisticated than ever, proper safety equipment is readily available and safety awareness among workers is high. Sadly, the problem appears to be rooted in greed.

Profit versus safety: Why builders use nonunion labor

Builders use nonunion labor because it's cheaper, and they can get away with cutting corners. According to the Times, 29 of the 31 reported deaths occurred on nonunion job sites -- that's a staggering 93 percent. Of course union jobs are safer and better-paying, but some workers must take whatever work is available to them -- at the risk of their own lives.

All New York workers are entitled to decent treatment, which includes a safe work environment. It is vitally important that we keep our safety laws in effect, yet some business owners are pushing to repeal some of these regulations, including New York Labor Law Section 240, known as "The Scaffold Law." To some people, profit is literally more important than safety.

What you should do if your loved one was killed or injured

Get the help you deserve. If you or one of your family members was hurt on a construction job or if you lost a loved one in an accident, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your rights.

Regardless of union membership or immigration status, you and your family are entitled to full and fair compensation for your losses. There is no harm or risk in obtaining free legal advice about your situation, so reach out to a qualified construction accident lawyer as soon as possible.

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Since 1965, we’ve recovered over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. read more
  • $2.1 million settlement

    for 33-year old electrician who fell from ladder while attempting to fit heavy cable into crown box when cable sprung back and struck him, causing him to suffer left shoulder injury with impingement.

  • $1.6 million settlement

    for 38-year old electrician who slipped and fell on debris on stairway with resulting cervical herniated disc and aggravation of pre-existing arthritic changes.

  • $2.55 million settlement

    for 42-year old electrician who fell into an uncovered, unprotected hole and suffered a severe low back injury with herniated disc(s) that required surgery at L4-5 and L5-S1 levels.

  • $1.75 million settlement

    for 26-year old construction worker who fell through opening in roof and fractured his wrist, requiring surgery with open reduction and internal fixation, external fixation device, and eventual fusion.

  • $2.5 million settlement

    for 38-year old female electrician (with history of prior neck injury) who tripped on uneven Masonite protective floor covering, and suffered neck injury with herniated discs requiring cervical fusion.

  • $1.2 million settlement

    during trial for 40-year old sheet metal worker who was struck in the neck and shoulder by an air conditioning unit and suffered herniated cervical discs and cervical radiculopathy.

*AV Preeminent is the highest rating of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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