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Construction workers’ accidents continue to claim lives

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New York construction workers risk injuries every day on a worksite. While there are constant additions and changes to the New York skyline, lives continue to be lost in construction workers’ accidents. This problem has now become political.

Some believe that the country’s unions are steadily eroding and that the importance of workplace safety is being left behind. When looking at the injury rate for construction workers over four years from 2011 to 2015, there was a 250 percent increase as per reports of the New York Department of Buildings. It was reported that 31 construction workers in the city lost their lives in the last two years.

However, the same concern exists the rest of the country. Records of construction workers’ fatalities nationwide in 2014 indicate that 899 lives were lost in on-the-job accidents. The statistics for more recent years are not yet available. Some believe the unions no longer protect the best interests of the workers because their control causes construction companies to hire non-union workers.

It is further noted that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is woefully understaffed, and there is not much promise of improvement in the short run. Sadly, the victims of this situation are the surviving family members of those who lose their lives in construction workers’ accidents. One consolation is that they can pursue financial assistance by filing death benefits claims through the workers’ compensation insurance program of New York. The purpose of this state-regulated insurance program is to provide benefits for funeral expenses and related costs, along with a lost income package for covered dependants, when a worker is killed in an on-the-job accident.

Source: peoplesworld.org, “Unions decline, construction worker deaths soar“, Sam Pizzigati, Feb. 15, 2017

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