May 17, 2024 | News Story

New City Legislation Aims to Track Workplace Fatalities for First Time

NYC Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, introduced Intro 865 at yesterday’s City Council Stated meeting, requiring the Commissioner of Consumer and Worker Protection to create a publicly available database of workplace deaths. Failure of employers to report information comes with a civil penalty of no less than $1,000 and no more than $2,500 for each violation.

According to NYCOSH’s 2024 Deadly Skyline Report, construction worker deaths In New York City continue to rise even as death rates decline statewide. Twenty-four construction workers died in 2022, compared to 20 in 2021 (a 20% increase) and 13 in 2020 (an 85% increase in two years). Latinx workers are the most likely to die at their workplaces, a story far too common as shown by the recent bridge collapse in Baltimore where six Latinx immigrant workers lost their lives after the crash.

“Violations at worksites coincide with worker fatalities, pointing to a trend in unscrupulous employers who put work over safety. Our introduction creates a set of data for us to follow up on deaths while holding employers accountable and financially liable for unreporting. Our real goal is to not have one more life lost because no one expects to go to work and not come back home. This is another level of protection for our workers – employers must take heed at worksites and employees, should something happen, know there are additional accountability measures that work to reduce the incidents,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa.

“Each year, the NYC CLC and NYCOSH host a Workers Memorial Day event at which we read the names of New Yorkers who went to work and tragically did not come home. What many don’t realize is that each year our list of fallen workers is only a fraction of the real number, because there is currently no city agency tasked with collecting information on workplace fatalities,” said NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez. “The CLC strongly supports Intro 865, a common sense bill that will provide transparency about workplace deaths that occur in New York City. In the year 2024, we should not be dependent on media reports and word of mouth to know how many workers are dying and which industries and professions need our attention. This legislation will enable our City to collect critical data that will inform our efforts to make workplaces safer, and assist in ensuring that every worker can return home at the end of the day.”