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New study shows Brooklyn led the way in construction worker deaths in 2022

Construction fatalities in NYC increased for 3rd year in a row in 2022, report says
Construction fatalities in NYC increased for 3rd year in a row in 2022, report says 02:20

NEW YORK City officials say there has been a post-pandemic boom in construction activity in New York, but that is a cause of concern for safety advocates who say fatalities among construction workers have also grown. 

The data, released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, shows that Brooklyn has had the most deaths of workers. 

CBS New York reported about the death of a construction worker in Borough Park on Feb. 2. The 33-year-old man was identified by loved ones as Juan Edifoncio Tamay Ganzhi. 

"He was a good man, he worked for our family," the victim's young son told reporters the day of the accident. 

"This fatality should absolutely not have happened, they should not have been doing this work," said James Oddo, Department of Buildings Commissioner. 

DOB officials say the agency ordered the structure to be demolished and the investigation continues. 

This comes as NYCOSH released a recent report that says construction fatalities increased for the third year in a row in 2022, the most recent year that data was available. 

Charlene Obernauer, NYCOSH Executive Director, says the nonprofit organization helps to advocate for construction worker's rights. 

"Latinx workers make up about 10% of the industry, and they make up 25% of the fatalities that occur," she says. 

According to NYCOSH, 2022 saw 19 OSHA-investigated fatalities, of which Brooklyn led the way with eight, followed by Queens and Manhattan with four each, then two in the Bronx, and one on Staten Island. 

"You have a lot more construction happening in Manhattan and you have a lot more fatalities happening in Brooklyn, which is pretty concerning data," Obernauer tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger. "Ninety percent of the fatalities that occurred in Brooklyn were non-union."

A spokesperson from the Department of Buildings says most of the deaths in the NYCOSH report are outside the agency's jurisdictional authority. DOB numbers show 11 fatalities for that year; Brooklyn still led the way with more than half. 

A DOB spokesperson responded in a statement that read in part, "DOB has made critical strides toward reducing the number of building construction-related fatalities, which have dropped to seven in calendar year 2023, the lowest number in nine years."

An OSHA spokesperson says the agency shares NYCOSH's desire to improve worker safety and health. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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