Even very young construction workers can be fatally hurt on the job. Sadly, a 19-year-old worker was killed in Northeast Baltimore. The young man was reportedly trapped and buried when a trench collapsed, according to a press release from the City of Baltimore and a news report from WJLA in Washington, D.C.
Why do so many construction workers still die on the job? What protections are in place to protect vulnerable New York City construction workers in their teens and early twenties?
When lives don't really count
Negligent project owners and contractors are to blame for scores of needless worker deaths in the country each year. Most of the responsible companies claim that worker safety is important to them, but the proof is in the pudding. Consider the following statistics on construction worker deaths in New York According to the 2018 "Deadly Skyline" report:
- More than 93 percent of NYC construction fatalities involved nonunion workers who didn't have the protection of a union.
- OSHA fines in fatality cases averaged around $20,000 -- a small "cost of doing business" for many construction companies.
- Falls, most of which can be prevented with adherence to established safety rules, represented 46 percent of NYC construction deaths over a recent 10-year period -- a total of more than 100 deaths.
- Construction workers in the city are almost six times more likely to die on the job when compared to workers in all industries.
- While the reported New York fatality rate for workers in the 16-24 year-old age category is lower than that of older workers, it is likely that the younger part of that demographic may be at greater risk of fatal injury. Other recent deaths, like that of an 18-year-old worker in Brooklyn in 2017, illustrate the dangers faced by youthful workers who are more easy for unscrupulous contractors to take advantage of.
What to do if you or your loved one was injured on the job
If you have been personally affected by a worker injury on a New York construction site, get the legal advice you need. Talk to a construction injury lawyer who can clearly explain your legal rights, which may include your right to money damages for injuries suffered by you or one of your family members because of someone else's negligence.