The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) on February 10 released its annual construction fatality report, “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State.” The report, which analyzed newly available data from 2020, found that the construction industry in both New York State and New York City remained far more dangerous than the rest of the country, despite widespread work stoppages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also found that, in 2020, OSHA conducted the lowest number of inspections in the agency’s history. This is also likely a result of the construction shutdown, but more analysis is needed to determine how this historic drop in oversight will set back efforts to safeguard worksites in subsequent years.
“New York should be a national leader in worker safety, but the data reveal that we continue to lead the nation in construction worker fatalities, despite COVID-19 shutdowns. Lawmakers must protect and expand safety regulations to hold negligent contractors and companies accountable when they endanger workers. While we are fortunate to have many strong protections on the books – such as the scaffold safety law – we still need stiffer consequences, and I urge lawmakers to act,” said Charlene Obernauer, NYCOSH Executive Director.