The Blame Game Over Worker Deaths in NYC

Tensions continue to mount in the construction accident blame game currently underway in New York as Harco Construction LLC has been found to be responsible for the death of a worker at a non-union site. In April of last year, undocumented laborer Carlos Moncayo was killed when the 13-foot-deep trench in which he was working collapsed. The safety of the trench had been the subject of at least one inspection and was known to be in violation of city and federal safety regulations. Harco Construction, the company responsible for the site, was found guilty of reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide, and manslaughter.

The feud between union and non-union interests in New York has been raging for some time and the recent spike in the yearly injury rate is bringing these arguments to a head. With an estimated 472 worker injuries in 2015 compared to 203 in 2014 (according to the city’s Department of Buildings), the rate of construction accidents is outpacing the number of new projects created by the current economic boom. Union interests argue that factors such as the lack of oversight and safety training cause non-union worksites to be inherently more dangerous.

Non-union labor groups have vehemently denied these claims and have been quick to point out that union work sites have their share of injuries and accidents. Groups such as BuildingNYC have offered that the high number of non-union accidents are proportional to their percentage of the workforce. Unfortunately, there is no accepted consensus on the data and both groups are armed with conflicting studies which reinforce their arguments. As each organization has different standards for what constitutes an onsite work injury, it is difficult to get a clear picture of the overall problem.

Disagreement also exists on what the guilty verdict in the case against Harco will mean for the construction industry. Non-union interests maintain that the ruling was a stretch by the court, while the unions see it as a critical victory.

NYC Construction Accident Attorneys – Call (646) 461-4009

Worksite accidents can happen anywhere and whether an injury occurred due to a structure failure, fall, or toxic exposure, Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP can help. Our New York City personal injury attorneys have proven experience defending the injured and have recovered more than $500 million for clients in past cases. When you choose to work with our firm, you can rest assured knowing that your case is in capable hands.

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