Construction fatalities jump in 2021 with 20 deaths in NYC: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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New York Construction Report staff writer

The pace of fatalities on construction sites has returned to pre-pandemic levels with 20 deaths on the job in New York City in 2021, according to a new report.

The analysis of federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a worker safety watchdog group, makes year-to-year comparisons by looking at the death rate per 100,000 workers.

In 2021, the rate in NYC was 11.2 per 100,000, up 60% from 7 deaths per 100,000 in 2020 when 13 workers died. In 2019, however, the rate was 11.6 per 100,000, with 24 deaths on city construction sites.

“Construction workers should not have to kiss their loved ones goodbye in the morning, fearful to never return again,” executive director Charlene Obernauer said in the report.

“Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the country and workers risk their lives every day to build New York. In this year’s “Deadly Skyline” report, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) highlights fatality trends in New York’s construction industry and makes recommendations on how the state and city can make worksites safer for construction workers.”

Findings include:

Among all work-related fatalities across New York City, New York State, and the United States as a whole, NYS has the highest proportion of construction-related worker fatalities.

  • New York City Department of Buildings must hire for vacant positions.
  • Non-union job sites are especially dangerous for workers.
  • Latinx workers are more likely to die on the job in New York State.
  • OSHA construction fines for fatalities have increased
  • OSHA continues to conduct lower inspections than pre-pandemic numbers.

“New York State’s construction industry remained highly dangerous for workers in 2021, and fatality numbers peaked,” the report concluded. “Increases in the fatality rate in New York City and New York State indicate that both the city and state need to take a hard look at how to increase worker safety on the job.”

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