The Real Deal New York

Construction industry calls for mandatory booze testing following explosive undercover investigation

Workers at four sites were caught on camera pounding back beers and shots during lunch breaks
March 02, 2016 11:41AM


Stock images of a construction site at Broadway and West 129th and beer (Credit for beer image: Len Rizzi)

Liquid lunch takes on a whole new meaning when those imbibing are construction workers.

An ABC-7 Eyewitness News investigation last month found some construction workers gulping down beers and shots during their 45-minute break while eating little-to-no food. The news program’s hidden cameras caught construction workers from at least four different building sites drinking over three lunch breaks and then heading back to the site.

One was a carpenter who went back work and used a chainsaw. Another was a worker in charge of ensuring cranes and heavily materials are safely lifted and used, Eyewitness News reported.

There were 18 construction fatalities in New York City last year.

Lou Coletti, head of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, told the news program that the organization is working with city officials to make mandatory alcohol testing the law.

The DOB called the workers’ conduct “outrageous,” and City Councilman Jumaane Williams told Eyewitness News, “If you’re on a job, any job, much less a construction job, going on lunch and drinking, it’s problematic.”

Amid a construction boom, there has been an increase in construction accidents and fatalities. Since 2009, construction has tripled, with 88 million square feet built in 2015. Over the same period, accidents have doubled, with a total of 433 citywide in 2015.

After a fatal crane collapse in Lower Manhattan earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will quadruple fines for serious safety lapses and undertake “proactive” safety investigations at 1,500 job sites. [ABC 7 NY]Dusica Sue Malesevic