NYC construction deaths fell in first year of pandemic

13 died on the job, accounting for more than 20% of all workplace deaths

The onset of the pandemic hampered construction in New York City, perhaps contributing to a decline in the number of deaths on the job.

Of the 59 fatal work injuries in 2020, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 13 were at construction sites, a decline from 24 the year before.

Five of the industry’s 2020 deaths resulted from falls, slips and trips, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Specialty trade contractors accounted for eight of the fatalities.

A recent report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health determined 79 percent of private construction site deaths involved nonunion workers, according to the Commercial Observer.

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In one incident near the end of 2020, a construction worker was killed when a brick wall in the back yard of a Sunset Park home collapsed. The 10-foot retention wall at 454 42nd Street fell on two workers, one of whom was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jashim Mia, 39, was later identified as the victim. Inadequate shoring along the wall caused it to crumble, the Department of Buildings found.

New York City’s next deadliest industry was retail, which had seven deaths in 2020, up from five in 2019. A majority of the deaths involved violence by people or animals. The transportation and warehousing sector had six workplace fatalities in 2020, as did the accomodation and food services industry.

Hispanic and Latino workers made up 39 percent of the workplace deaths in the city, significantly higher than the 23 percent of workplace deaths they accounted for across the country. White workers accounted for 31 percent of city workplace deaths and Black workers for 19 percent.

In total, there were 4,764 fatal work injuries across the country in 2020, the lowest yearly total since 2013 and an 11 percent drop from 5,333 the previous year.