Senator Jose Peralta, NICE and Advocates Urge the State Legislature to Debate and Pass Carlos’ Law to Protect Construction Workers

Today, State Senator Jose Peralta and the New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) urged the New York State Senate to debate and pass Carlos’ Law (S.4373B) in Albany this year, legislation aimed at protecting construction workers from employers who do not comply with the required safety protocols. Senator Peralta is a lead sponsor of the bill. Under the proposal, fines and penalties will increase when a developer “ignores, disregards or fails” to follow safety protocols and procedures, and that “contributes directly to bodily injury, serious physical injury or the death of a worker.”

Workplace deaths and injuries continue to be common at construction sites despite health and safety training. Although workers generally understand how to be safe, developers and employers must establish the necessary conditions to have a safe working environment. Carlos’ Law will strengthen New York State’s laws by amending the penal law to increase fines and penalties of up to $500,000 for developers who ignore workplace safety protocols. In the past decade, about 500 construction workers were killed at the jobsite in New York State.  

“We are facing an unacceptable crisis when we are talking about the number of on the job deaths and serious injuries. We must ensure we use all the necessary resources to help reduce occupational deaths and injuries. Edgar Pazmino. Carlos Moncayo. Juan Chonillo. They were all killed at construction sites. It is time we honor their memory by working all together to avoid any future on the job deaths. We have an obligation to protect workers, and this is why it is imperative we debate Carlos’ Law on the Senate floor this year,” said Senator Peralta.   

“Last week, on April 28th, at a special mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, we remembered Edgar and other workers who were killed at construction sites in the past year,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “This week, we call on authorities to cojntinue investigating Edgar’s death and call on the state legislature to take action and pass Carlos’ bill, a bill that would bring justice to workers like Edgar. Nearly 500 construction workers have been killed in the past decade in the state of New York, and we won't rest until something is done about this crisis.”

According to a 2013 report by the Center for Popular Democracy, Latino and immigrants are disproportionally killed in construction accidents. Between 2003 and 2011, 75% of construction workers who died on the job were U.S.-born Latinos or immigrants. The report points out that in 60% of the fall death cases investigated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the victims were Hispanic and/or immigrants. That percentage jumps to 74 in New York City, and to 88 in Queens. “This is very troubling. We need to put an end to this crisis,” said Senator Peralta.