New York Creates More Complete Registry of On-the-Job Construction Deaths

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Robison Wells

New York lawmakers hope to reduce on-the-job construction industry injuries and deaths with a new bill. The New York State senate signed Bill S1302 into law on February 16th; this bill expands on a registry of information related to construction incidents that result in fatal injuries. The bill's language qualifies workers in the following groups: “direct employees, contracted employees, subcontracted employees, independent contractors, temporary or contingency workers, apprentices, interns, volunteers.” It also expands the term “contractor” to include direct employers, contractors, and subcontractors.

The bill proposes a unified and clarified system for tracking every on-the-job construction death using a network of all 58 county coroners and medical examiners.

As of 2018, on-the-job deaths in construction account for 20% of New York’s private sector fatalities. State Senator Jessica Ramos tweeted: “New York doesn’t keep a centralized record of worker deaths. My Workplace Fatalities Registry Bill will fix that & help identify dangerous working conditions so NY can do better.”

Among the law's stipulations, coroners and medical examiners must report construction industry workplace deaths to New York State’s Department of Labor. The Department of Labor consequently seeks information about deceased workers, including age, ethnicity, nationality, immigration and union status, and worker craft or trade. Investigators also file information about criminal or civil charges.

“It is imperative for accurate data to be collected regarding all incidents under which an individual performing construction work suffers a work-related fatal injury in the workplace,” reads text submitted with the legislation. “This bill is necessary to ensure that there is a centralized registry in New York State that contains the circumstances of workplace deaths in the construction industry, accompanied by demographic data on the victims, so that we may continue to work towards improving the safety and health of those on construction jobs.”

New York State Bill S1302 expands the categories of on-the-job construction deaths and mandates detailed records. Lawmakers hope more accurate reporting and oversight will decrease the number of on-the-job injuries and fatalities.

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