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New York City construction workers need more training

Earlier this month, thousands of construction workers gathered in New York City to grieve for the 30 workers killed since 2015 in construction accidents around the city.

They also came out in force to call for additional training for construction workers to reduce these work site fatalities.

A bill submitted by a council member and the chairperson of the Housing and Building Committee is currently before the City Council. The bill, which is also supported by the Manhattan Borough president, can authorize more training for NYC construction workers to keep them safer on the job.

Jobs staffed by union workers are generally the safest of all due to the extensive training the state Labor Department insists upon for construction workers. However, non-union jobs have deplorable safety records and no training requirements. According to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, 80 percent of the 30 deaths of construction workers happened on non-union jobs.

NYCOSH also revealed that in the one-year period from 2014 to 2015, 90 percent of the sites where workers were killed had prior safety violations.

Only a quarter of all the construction jobs that take place in NYC are non-union, which makes these statistics even more egregious. Last month, NYCOSH issued a report indicating that most of the deaths caused by safety violations were to minorities, usually Hispanics.

Whether the City Council winds up doing the right thing or not, injured workers are not without recourse. They can pursue the matter as a workers' compensation claim, and in some circumstances, may be able to retain a personal injury attorney to file a petition for damages in civil court.

Source: New York Daily News, "City Council can protect NYC workers from construction accidents by mandating better training," Gary Labarbera, Feb. 01, 2017

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