People in the right places are starting to take notice of a disturbing trend. The media has begun reporting more stories about construction related accidents in New York City. Construction workers, many of whom are in the United States illegally, are suffering horrible injuries at worksites across New York City because of a lack of proper safety equipment.
As more high rises are built around NYC, the death toll for construction workers has risen equally fast. These undocumented workers who are working on luxury buildings are often doing so in unsafe conditions. Building owners and general contractors put the safety of these workers last and profit margins first. Numerous construction companies have received violations for their unsafe work sites but nonetheless are still issued permits in NYC and permitted to work. Companies with outstanding violations and unpaid fines are still not barred from construction work in NYC.
On a positive note, City agencies such as the Buildings Department are beginning to appreciate the gravity of the situation and have taken steps to hire more inspectors and pursue contractors with histories of violations. Additionally, Inspectors are being encouraged to immediately call the Building Department’s emergency hotline if they come across uncorrected hazardous conditions.
In the past such conditions were merely pointed out to the responsible companies who often proceeded without making any effort to correct the dangerous worksite. Workers are also being encouraged to report unsafe practices at their jobsite. It remains to be seen what effect these measures will have in helping to improve construction worker safety at jobsites in New York City.