Nearly two-thirds of the 36 workers who died on construction jobs in New York in 2011 and 2012, were killed on sites where workers did not participate in state-approved training and apprenticeship programs, according to a Public Citizen report released Nov. 15.

On-the-job safety training has been proven to reduce construction industry injuries and fatalities, but the existing laws mandate only that it be provided by employers operating under conventional city contracts.

“I was working on the 54th floor, when I fell down the elevator shaft. Due to my having been taught how to properly use my fall arrest system, I am alive to tell the story. Safety is no accident and my apprentice training has helped save my life,” said Juan Hoy, who works for an elevator constructor.

“Most construction workers are being put at far more risk than they ought to be, and it doesn’t have to be that way,” said report author Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate at Public Citizen. “We owe it to construction workers to improve safety policies, and expanding training requirements would be an effective change.”

The Public Citizen report, “The Price of Inaction: The Cost of Unsafe Construction in New York City,” estimates the economic impact to New York City of fatal construction injuries in 2011 and 2012 at more than $180 million. While the existing laws set training requirements for construction contractors under city contracts, the city also funds construction projects through “public benefit corporations,” entities that publicly finance projects through tax incentive financing. These projects do not have the same worker training requirements as projects under city contractors.