Labor groups and politicians are asking a lot of questions surrounding the safety of construction jobs in New York City -- particularly the safety of union jobs. Officials want to know if the recent spike in construction job-related deaths and injuries relates more to nonunion jobs or union jobs. They want to determine if workers are safer when they are unionized.
A 43-year-old construction worker was recently killed while working at a downtown Brooklyn construction site when a piece of machinery malfunctioned. Paul Kennedy of the Bronx's Woodlawn section had stepped out of the operating booth of a pile-drilling crane when a steel shackle broke off and fell at least 60 feet to strike him in the head. Even though some reports said that Kennedy wore a helmet, the blow left him unconscious and he was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
2015 was a deadly year for construction workers in New York City with 17 fatalities. Unfortunately, this increase in fatal on-the-job accidents was not an outlier, but part of a trend as injuries and deaths among New York City construction workers has risen over the last several years. Depending on when you measure, there has been approximately a twofold increase fatalities and a 52 percent increase in injuries.
On September 3, 2015, three construction workers, who were employed at 656 Myrtle Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York City, were buried beneath a pile of cinder blocks when a retaining wall, that was designed to hold back soil around the base of a building, collapsed.
Construction sites can be hazardous to workers on the job, but they can also pose dangers to people in the immediate area of construction. A recent Manhattan construction accident highlights the potential for serious and catastrophic injury.