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Increased Local Oversight Cuts Down On Total Number of Construction Worker Deaths

Increased Local Oversight Cuts Down On Total Number of Construction Worker Deaths

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) recently published “Deadly Skyline”, the organization’s annual report on construction fatalities throughout New York State. We have broken down the key findings into a series of blogs, but you can also read the report in full here (PDF). This is part 2/8.

Over the past few years, New York City has dramatically increased the amount of funding allocated for the Department of Buildings (DOB) in an attempt to help make construction sites safer throughout the city.

This additional funding has gone towards hiring more inspectors and increasing the number of inspections per year. In 2018, the NYC DOB received $183.3 million in funding, a massive increase from the $107.25 million it received in 2015. The largest jump occurred between 2015 and 2016, when the department received an increase of approximately $47.15 million for a total budget of $154.4 million.

Over the same period of time, the number of injuries and/or fatalities on construction sites have skyrocketed in New York City. According to the DOB’s database, 599 people were injured or killed on construction sites in 2016, compared to 231 in 2014. Experts are still working to uncover the root cause of this increase, but they speculate that it could be due to a combination of an increased number of building permits issued by the city – 87,190 construction permits were issued throughout the city in 2012, compared to 165,083 issued in 2016 – and better reporting of these types of incidents.

District attorneys throughout New York City are also working to cut down on the number of fatalities that occur on construction sites by going after construction companies that put the lives of their employees and workers at risk. The report highlighted two notable cases pursued by district attorneys over the past couple of years. The first, secured by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., was the conviction of Harco Construction and Sky Materials whose criminal failure to protect their workers resulted in the death of Carlos Moncayo. The second, secured by Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, focused on the charges against the owner of RSBY NY Builders Inc. and Park Ave Builders Inc. after 18-year-old Fernando Vanegaz was killed and two more workers were injured after their foreman ordered to work on a wall, despite the workers’ protests and the fact that the work was not approved. You can read more about these cases, as well as more information about the increased funding in the report here (PDF).

Ensuring worker safety is incredibly important, and anyone injured due to a failure to do so deserves the chance to seek the compensation they deserve through the legal system. If you were seriously injured on the job, our New York City construction accident attorneys at the Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. are ready to put our knowledge and experience to use and help you navigate any legal hurdles that you may face. Call us at (212) 577-9325 to discuss your situation or fill out our online form to request a free case evaluation today.

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