Putting a Price on Life: Construction Workers and Safety

Construction Workers and Safety

In 2015, Carlos Moncayo was buried alive in a 14´ unreinforced trench on a New York construction jobsite. The undocumented worker was 22 years old. The New York construction company was convicted of manslaughter/negligent homicide and fined $10,000.

If passed, Carlos’ Law would allow a $300,000 minimum fine to New York companies in which construction safety fails resulted in construction workers’ deaths. The bill sponsoring Carlos’ Law was introduced in 2015 and is just now close to finalizing.

Throughout the U.S., liability varies for construction workers’ injuries and deaths; some states categorize construction workers’ safety separately from other professions.

Construction Dive says 80% of construction workers’ deaths in 2020 were on non-union jobsites. Greenspan Marder LLP partner Carol Sigmond says the bill could force district attorney offices to be more knowledgeable about construction safety. She said the New York bill wouldn’t impact most construction companies. “For the smaller, fly-by-night guys, this’ll be more serious,” she said.

OSHA alarm bells are going off since the number of trench-related construction worker deaths is dramatically increasing. In 2021, there were a total of 15 trench deaths, but from January to June 2022, there were 22.

In June, two Texas workers died when a 20-foot trench collapsed on them. The unused reinforcement shields that could have saved their lives were above and adjacent to the excavation.

Trench fatalities can be prevented when employers comply with OSHA standards. “There simply is no excuse for ignoring safety requirements to prevent trench collapses and cave-ins, and leaving families, friends and co-workers to grieve when the solutions are so well-understood,” said Doug Parker, assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

Manage Construction Workers’ Safety

You should ask your OSHA area specialist if you are unsure about safety risks on your construction company’s jobsites. Strategic management can increase construction safety and reduce risks. And it might even reduce your company’s insurance costs.

Marketing and business development require strategic management as well. If you’re new to construction business leads, let us explain how our information can lead to construction profits. Contact Construction Monitor.

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