Feb 27, 2007 7:47 am US/Eastern
Construction Workers Caught Drinking On The Job
(CBS) NEW YORK Statistics show one in five workplace deaths is related to drug or alcohol abuse, with alcohol found most often in toxicology reports. CBS 2's hidden camera investigation found some construction workers drinking on their lunch breaks before heading right back to work.
The workers have been doing construction on a tower rising up in the heart of Midtown and will soon be one of the nation's leading financial institutions in The Bank of America. These days, 1111 Sixth Ave. is being forged from steel, concrete, and cranes -- all at the hands of hundreds of construction workers.
Yet during lunch hour, CBS 2 discovered those same hands hoisting something else: booze. At a bar just two blocks from the site, lunchtime looks more like happy hour. A bartender told CBS 2's Kirstin Cole just about every type of tradesman stops in for a few pops.
When CBS 2 entered the bar and found the construction workers drinking, the bartender said the workers were drinking Jameson's Irish whiskey. Also caught on video were two workers throwing back a couple of beers -- and one topped it off with a double shot.
Meanwhile, their buddy had a beer before suiting back up in his safety harness. That's when they all left the bar and head back to work.
Local bartenders welcome the regulars day after day, even hoping construction takes several more years, but pedestrians wonder, at what cost to safety?
"I could imagine, you could have a nasty fall from up there. Plus I'm wondering how they put the buildings together, if they aren't fully conscious," one New Yorker said.
The building's developer, Tishman Construction Corp. and owner, The Durst Organization, said they've already addressed the issue with their contractors. In a statement, Tishman went on to say they maintain "a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding the use of alcohol." They add that "any worker who ... violates our safety policies is subject to strict disciplinary action, including being removed from the site."
In a statement the buildings department told CBS 2 that alcohol-impairment and construction work can be a fatal mix and the city fully supports industry guidelines calling for a strict policy against drug and alcohol possession during hours of work.
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