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Roundup: Report on minorities, construction deaths

ISLANDWIDE
Report on minorities, construction deaths
Latinos and other construction workers from minority communities are more likely to fall and die from construction site injuries on Long Island and elsewhere in the state, according to a report issued yesterday by a community group advocating for stronger worker-safety protections.

The Center for Popular Democracy, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, looked at fatal falls investigated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration between 2003 and 2011 and concluded that Latino or immigrant workers were killed in 60 percent of those fatalities in New York State.

For Long Island, 42 percent of those fatal falls involved Latino or immigrant workers even though Latinos represent 26 percent of construction workers in Nassau and 23 percent of construction workers in Suffolk, said Connie Razza, strategic research director for the group.

“We are finding that across the board, first, Latinos and other people of color are disproportionately represented in the pool of workers,” Razza said. “But then because they are concentrated in those smaller often nonunion contractors that don’t provide adequate safety equipment and don’t provide adequate training, they are more likely to have these falls and have fatalities.”

The group is calling for more vigilance and enforcement of the state’s existing “Scaffold Law,” which specifies required safety conditions and training as well as seeking increased funding for inspectors to conduct worksite inspections.
— VÍCTOR MANUEL RAMOS


NASSAU COUNTY
Able-Ride updating its aging fleet of vans
Nassau County Able-Ride will soon roll out 28 new handicap-accessible vans to replace its older vehicles.

Veolia Transportation, the company that operates NICE Bus and its Able-Ride division, said it spent $780,000 for 18 vehicles at no cost to Nassau County taxpayers.

The remaining 10 vehicles costing $435,000 are being funded through state-administered Federal Transportation Administration grants, county officials said in a news release.

The first group of vans is expected to be delivered later this month, officials said. The vehicles will be smaller and more compact while still being wheelchair-accessible, NICE spokesman Andrew Kraus said.

“We are pleased to update the Able-Ride fleet and we’re doing it in a way that will improve the experience for NICE’s paratransit customers,” County Executive Edward Mangano said in the statement.

Able Ride is a curb-to-curb paratransit bus service for people with disabilities unable to use fixed-route bus service for some or all of their trips.

The new and modified Dodge vans can safely carry two passengers in wheelchairs and two seated passengers, officials said. Unlike the current vehicles, the vans will use regular gasoline for better fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance costs.

The smaller vans also will be able to travel on parkways, giving drivers faster and shorter route options.
— CIJI THOMAS


ROOSEVELT
Speed-safety signs installed at school
Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and councilwoman Dorothy Goosby have unveiled new school signs to deter speeding on the main road in front of Centennial Avenue Elementary School in Roosevelt.

Elected officials were joined Wednesday by Roosevelt School District superintendent Deborah Wortham, school principal Barbara Solomon, students and parents in introducing one of the new speed-awareness signs along Centennial Avenue, between North Long Beach Avenue and Elysian Terrace.

There are two signs, one for each direction, were installed to help prevent speeding near the two schools. The 2-feet-by-3-feet electric signs are programmable and can be turned off when school is not in session.

The signs, which notify drivers of their speed and are meant to slow motorists, especially in school speed zones. Fuschillo secured state funding for the Town of Hempstead to purchase and install the signs, officials said.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM 

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