In response to the deaths of sixteen construction workers in the last fiscal year, thousands rallied earlier this month to advocate for stricter safety regulations in New York City. The demonstration, which took place in front of City Hall, featured union workers as well as city and state officials.The protesters, led by the city’s biggest construction union, carried coffins as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” to symbolize a funeral procession as a tribute to the fallen workers, most of them nonunion.
The number of construction-related deaths is up from 12 the previous year and seven the year before, per the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. An investigation recently published by the New York Times called the casualties “completely avoidable.” A lack of basic precautions and adequate training, as well as pressure to finish construction as quickly as possible were named as contributing factors.
"I think it's important that the administration as well as the city council take this legislation very seriously and do what's right to protect non-union workers and workers at construction sites that are dying at an epidemic rate," said Gary LaBarbera, of the Building and Construction Trades Council, per New York 1.
The City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings is considering implementing new laws in order to increase safety at construction sites going forward.