A new report from the Center for Popular Democracy claims that people are more or less likely to be injured or killed at construction sites in New York based on their race or ethnicity.
The report, entitled “Fatal Inequality: Workplace Safety Eludes Construction Workers of Color in New York State,” found that Latinos and immigrants are most likely to be killed in falling incidents at construction sites. The report analyzed data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has records of all the construction site data from 2003 to 2011.
Researchers found that 60% of the construction site fatalities across New York State involved Latino or immigrant workers. In New York City, that number rose to 74%, even though only 34% of the construction work force is Latino. More specifically, 88% were Latino in Queens and 87% in Brooklyn. Those numbers are drastically high for such a specific population, and Popular Democracy claims that the problem stems from the fact that they are often given non-union work. The strikingly high statistic of 86% of fatalities occurred at non-union work sites in New York.
New York State currently has legislation referred to as the Scaffold Law, which mandates that contractors provide the necessary safety for workers. A new law, however, has been introduced in the state that would transfer that responsibility to the individual workers, the report claims. Popular Democracy claims that this negatively targets workers of color and immigrants not familiar with the safety requirements.