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Deaths in New York Construction Sites on the Rise

Posted by Hannah Raissa Marfil on Oct 20, 2015 06:10 AM EDT
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NEW YORK - JULY 15: Workers continue construction on the World Trade Center site in July 15, 2010 New York City. Construction at the site is expected to be completed by 2013. (Photo : Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Construction in New York City has peaked over the past few months. However, the latest report from the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration indicates that the number of deaths in construction sites has also increased.

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The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration report has recorded a total of 19 deaths in New York construction sites over the past twelve months that cover the period from October 1, 2014, until September 30, 2015.  This is higher than the 12 observed from the previous year and the seven posted the year before that. 

In a statement released through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration official website site, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said that there were "far too many people [that] are still killed on the job."  He added, "13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily. These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires."

According to the New York Daily News, the spike in the number of construction-related deaths is attributed to the decreasing number of available site-safety inspectors.  From 2011 until 2014, the number of inspectors dropped 6%, from 1,171 to 1,105.  New York City contractors said that the "disturbing trend is making job sites more dangerous" given that each year, more site safety managers are retiring from their professions. 

A veteran construction manager told the New York Daily News, "What's appalling is the inconsistency of the safety. It's become more unsafe." The dwindling supply of site safety inspectors has created a trend of rising rates for this profession.  This resulted to some inspectors jumping companies to get better-paying jobs in the middle of ongoing projects.  "It's creating an opening for a dangerous condition because there's no continuity," said the veteran construction manager.  "Guys are jumping ship left and right because they can make more money down the block."

The New York Daily News report further cited other construction related accidents and deaths such as the death of laborer Carlos Moncayo in April this year.  Moncayo was buried alive when a 14-foot trench collapsed at a construction site in the city's Meatpacking District.  Site safety inspectors have issued numerous warnings over the unsafe worksite, which eventually led to the death of the worker.

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