NYC construction fatalities, injuries soar amid building boom

Dive Brief:

  • Construction-related fatalities in Manhattan nearly doubled between June 2014 and June 2015, from six to 11, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.

  • In addition, injuries increased by 34% during that time. A reported 283 injuries occurred during that time, compared with 206 in 2010; 128 in 2011; and 187 in 2012 and 2013, the annual Mayor’s Management Report showed.

  • Last week’s report came after the city’s latest construction fatality, which involved a worker who died after falling 30 feet down an elevator shaft on a hotel work site.

Dive Insight:

The surge in construction deaths and injuries has accompanied a building boom in the city.

Still, City Councilman Jumaane Williams told Capital New York: “I think there was an expectation that there might be an increase with the increase of construction. I don't know that we necessarily accept that philosophy, and we shouldn't.”

He blamed many of the injuries on contractors who “are trying to cut corners” when it comes to job site safety. He pointed to the contractor responsible for the site where Williams was killed, BRF Construction Group, saying the Department of Buildings had fined the company $12,000 in March after it discovered a worker without a harness on a 20-foot rebarred wall.

Earlier this month, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance created a Construction Fraud Task Force that will step up investigations and prosecutions of contractors who violate safety regulations or defraud the government by illegally using tax credits and other incentives.

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