New York is home to a large population, especially in New York City and surrounding areas. Because of this, construction workers struggle to keep up with the demands for building new structures and renovating old ones.
These construction projects provide more homes for people and spaces for businesses. However, in 2019, this expansion contributed to several deaths that might only slow due to economic factors in 2020.
Families take multiple hits
The New York Times points to one factor many people do not consider when construction accidents occur. Many family members often work together on one site and employers might even allow them to work together, so one accident might have multiple effects on one family. In the case reported by the NY Times, one building collapse led to two family members becoming seriously injured. Building debris killed another by crushing.
Latinos are badly affected
Latinos account for 20% of worker fatality injuries in New York, while only making up 10% of the workforce. Latinos are also among the construction worker groups that tend to refer family members to their employers to work on the same sites. As illustrated in the NY Times incident, this might further explain why fatalities remain so high for this demographic.
Deaths trended upward for 2019
CBS New York reported that compared to five years before, construction worker deaths climbed by 33% in New York City. Deadlines and growing pressure from clients compound the issue and increase the likelihood of cutting corners in worker safety to get things done more quickly.
New York officials scheduled multiple inspections to ensure work site compliance. However, as deaths continued to climb, many New Yorkers say they need to do more.