There were five fatalities. The Empire State Building, which had five deaths among its 3,400 employees during construction; the World Trade Center building in the 1970s, which had 60 construction worker deaths; the Sears Tower, which had five worker deaths in two instances; and Las Vegas' CityCenter. These are the only buildings in history to have more than four deaths during their constructions.
The New York Times reports that there were 5,000 people involved in construction of the Empire State Building. This means that there was one death for every 150 workers. In comparison, there were three deaths for every 100 workers on Chicago's Sears Tower project. There was also one death for every 50 workers on the Las Vegas project.
All five men killed were young. They were between the ages of 26 and 35. Three of them were Italian and two were Polish.
Three of the deaths occurred when scaffolding gave way beneath them. The other two men fell to their deaths from higher vantage points. No one knows what caused the first three men to fall because their bodies were never found.
The fourth man died when he was hit by a truck on February 2, 1951. The fifth man died when he fell off a roof in September 1951.
The Empire State Building was completed on January 1, 1931.
It took its crew just over two years to build.
Officially, five employees died during construction, although the New York Daily News reported 14 deaths, and a headline in the socialist publication The New Masses disseminated unsubstantiated allegations of up to 42 deaths. In any case, no one was killed while erecting the tower.
That's according to the Empire State Building website, which states that "no one was killed building the Empire State Building."
It also says that there were only four fatalities during construction of the building itself - three from falls and one from carbon monoxide poisoning. The fourth death wasn't related to the Empire State Building project but rather occurred when a truck driver fell off his vehicle while unloading bricklayers' material at an adjacent site. The building's opening day coincided with Memorial Day, so the official death toll didn't appear in the newspapers until several days later. However, the number of fatalities became widely known through news stories and word of mouth, so it is possible that some builders experienced accidents after the fact.
The first death during construction was that of Charles Feltman, a 34-year-old carpenter who fell to his death from the 10th floor of the Mercer Street Bridge on February 2, 1931. He had been standing on a scaffold working on the bridge when it gave way beneath him.
How many people perished while working on the Rockefeller Center? According to official reports, five workmen were killed during the building's construction. This isn't unexpected given the absence of harnesses and hard caps in these stark photographs. In addition, there are the regular hazards of heavy machinery and concrete that can cause death or injury without malice intent.
The first fatality occurred on January 1, 1948 when a 42-year-old worker fell to his death from the 15th floor of the North Tower. His body was found near the base of the tower stairwell. The autopsy report listed the death as being due to complications from multiple fractures including one to the skull which probably caused the fatal blow.
A second death occurred on February 22, 1948 when a 36-year-old worker fell to his death from the 14th floor of the South Tower. He had suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull, leg bone, and ribs. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as acute blood loss due to multiple wounds.
A third death occurred on March 3, 1948 when a 28-year-old worker fell from the 13th floor of the West Tower and was hit by a truck carrying gravel to the site. He died at the scene. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries with acute blood loss being the most serious condition.