Safety in the workplace has always been a concern of the labor movement. Regrettably, it took the tragic deaths of 146 women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to galvanize public awareness for the need for reform. 100 years later organized labor is still fighting for a safe work environment.The resistance to safe practices is evident is the number of preventable mishaps. An examination of the coal mining industry too easily proves the case. In 2011, according to final fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,693 workers were killed on the job—an average of 13 workers every day—and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases.
Construction workers built New York's iconic bridges,skyscrapers, and homes have become fixtures in the landscape for every New Yorker. Scaffolds and active construction sites are a common scene in the streets of New York City as the real estate industry booms and more and more construction jobs are created. Construction work is woven into the economic and cultural fabric of the city and state, with historic sites as go-to destinations. The dangers of construction work are apparent throughout New York’s history. The Brooklyn Bridge, a historic symbol of New York City built in 1869, is recognized as an engineering masterpiece and a symbol of unity after the Civil War. Lesser known is the sacrifice of construction workers who died building the project. Even the Bridge’s designer, John A. Roebling, died when his foot was crushed between some pilings and a boat. This danger continues today as you can see in the 2019 NYCOSH report: Deadly Skylines.
- NYCOSH Deadly Skylines
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) Databases
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Workers' Rights Manual
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH)