How About Construction Worker Deaths, New York Times?

The New York Times reported today about the tragic fact that for the first time this year two law enforcement officers died on the job in separate incidents in Ohio and Utah:

The deaths of Officer Tom Cottrell and Officer Douglas Barney were the first two killings of police officers in 2016.

Posted by The New York Times on Monday, January 18, 2016

This prompted various ideological responses from Times readers on Facebook: cops make such great sacrifices and the media demonizes them; it’s a double standard because cops get excused for homicides; this is why we need gun control; this is all Obama’s fault, etc.

Meanwhile, I was thinking about another perspective: how many construction workers have died this year? Because, despite the fact that the media focuses on law enforcement deaths, and everyone says police “put their lives on the line every day,” the construction industry and other blue collar fields have far more workplace deaths. Of course, society focuses less on those deaths because they are not of the dramatic nature, not unlike how so many people fear flying even though they’re much more likely to die in an automobile accident.

In reality, for 2014, the latest year for which comprehensive statistics are available, police officers comprised 2.2% of workplace deaths – about the same number of deaths as in the foodservice industry. Meanwhile, 19.4% came from the construction industry.

So did the Times report when the first construction worker of the year died in America in 2016? I found none in my search of their website. They did report on the apparent suicide of one construction worker this year, but nothing on worksite deaths.

The Times neglected to cover:

  • John J. Jaloway, who died January 2 in Chicago when a wall collapsed on him while working on construction in a Ford assembly plant.
  • Justin Jorgensen, who died January 6 in Altoona, Iowa when a trench at an excavation site collapsed on him. According to a report, “the workers didn’t seem to be using any kind of protection during their morning work” even though at the site there was a trench box, which could have prevented the collapse.
  • Joshua Goodwyn, a road construction worker who died January 7 while removing a message board hit by a motor vehicle, when the same motor vehicle struck him.
  • John Johnson, who died January 14 when he fell into the Delaware River on a job in Philadelphia. Police were called when Johnson’s coworker saw his hat and goggles floating in the river.

That means at least five construction workers have died on the job in 2016, none of whom were mentioned in the New York Times, whereas two disparate police officer deaths were.

Are construction worker deaths not also important, New York Times?

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