Statewide construction death registry now law in New York State
A new law in New York expands the definition of workers and puts more responsibility on contractors to report fatalities to a state registry of on-the-job construction deaths, including demographic data about victims.
New York Senate Bill S1302, which was signed into law Feb. 16, amends previous language about workers to include “direct employees, contracted employees, subcontracted employees, independent contractors, temporary or contingency workers, apprentices, interns, volunteers” and other individuals. It also expands use of the term “contractor” to apply to a direct employer, contractor or subcontractor.
Sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Jessica Ramos, text submitted with the bill describes how the definition of a workplace fatality differed among New York’s 58 county coroners and medical examiners, and stated its intent is to capture all on-the-job deaths in construction, which accounted for one in five private sector workplace fatalities in 2018. “New York doesn’t keep a centralized record of worker deaths,” Ramos tweeted last year. “My Workplace Fatalities Registry Bill will fix that & help identify dangerous working conditions so NY can do better.”
The legislation requires all coroners and medical examiners to report construction industry workplace deaths within 72 hours to New York State’s Department of Labor, which is tasked with maintaining the registry.
Once that information is cataloged, DOL is then charged with requesting further information from contractors about the incident and death, including the age, ethnicity, nationality, immigration and union status, and the craft or trade of the worker. DOL may also request whether criminal or civil charges have been filed against the contractor in the worker’s death.