CITY HALL — The last time Monica Velazquez saw her father was on Thanksgiving dinner last year.
The next morning he went to his worksite, a car dealership in Staten Island that was being demolished, and was killed when its roof collapsed.
Delfino Velazquez, a 46-year-old construction worker with Formica Construction, was one of a rising number of fatalities at city worksites, activists say.
"I miss my father every single day and my heart aches because I know his death was entirely avoidable," Monica Velazquez said Monday as she stood on the steps of City Hall with construction workers, their unions and work safety advocates.
All had gathered to ask the city for safer work conditions on construction sites and a more aggressive prosecution of safety offenders, they said.
A recent report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Heath shows that Velazquez was one of 15 construction workers killed on the job in the city in 2014.
Since January, nine more construction workers have died because they worked at unsafe sites, according to Charlene Obernauer, the organization's executive director.
Just last week, a worker died after falling down an elevator shaft into the cellar of a construction site of a 29-story luxury hotel building in Midtown.
The report, named Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC and unveiled Monday morning, found that many of the city's construction sites are poorly regulated and hazardous.
The study states that even though the construction sector accounts for less than 4 percent of employment statewide, it represents nearly 20 percent of on-the-job fatalities.
Most of the fatalities happen at non-union sites and most of the victims are immigrants or Latino workers, according to the report.
"The findings are clear, New York has an epidemic of construction site deaths and it has to stop," Obernauer said on Monday. "We need to talk about how we can improve safety and crack down on criminal contractors and employers."
The report found that most sites are never inspected until a worker is injured or killed, mainly because OSHA (which inspects construction sites along with DOB) only has 71 inspectors to monitor hundreds of work sites across the city.
It also found that city agencies work with safety offenders, as almost 90 percent of contractors working on affordable housing projects have been issued OSHA violations.
Additionally, the fines safety offenders have to pay are just a "slap on the wrist" advocates said, citing that the average penalty for fatal construction accidents imposed by OSHA was roughly $7,600 in 2012.
"Constructions workers have rights, like everyone, to expect to come home safe when they go to work in the morning," Velazquez said on Monday.
"We want more safety and we want justice," she said, adding that her family has been waiting for five months for the District Attorney's Office to conclude its investigation regarding her father's death.
A spokesman for Richmond County District Attorney pointed out that the prosecutor handling the case recently met with the Velazquez family.
"The prosecutor explained [to Velazquez's family] that the active investigation was being handled by several different agencies, including the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, the NYPD, the Department of Buildings and OSHA," a spokesman said.
"The prosecutor also explained that we are waiting on completed reports from experts in the fields of construction, demolition and worksite safety as the next step in our investigation."
Advocates and unions say more safety trainings should be implemented and that more resources should be allocated to construction site inspections.
"Innocent workers should not have to die so that we can build our city's infrastructure," Obernauer said.
A spokesman for OSHA said the agency "recognizes that construction in New York City and elsewhere is a high hazard industry" and that it works hard to address those hazards.
"We respond actively and promptly to complaints, referrals, and reports of incidents, and enforce all applicable standards to the fullest extent of the law," the spokesman said.
"We also conduct outreach to workers and employers to educate them about workplace safety and health and their rights and responsibilities on the job."