- Following a series of recent construction worker deaths, New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca this week mobilized teams of enforcement inspectors to perform safety sweeps of the city’s larger and more complex construction sites.
- While performing these "zero-tolerance" sweeps, DOB inspectors will issue enforcement actions if they observe any safety violations and will shut down sites if they find serious safety lapses, the city announced in a press release. Inspectors and community engagement teams will also be distributing "Worker Alert" safety information at construction sites on the dangers of worker falls.
- In the last two weeks, three construction workers in the city died in separate work-related incidents. Two of these fatal incidents were the result of worker falls, and all three incidents are under investigation.
"The recent spate of construction worker deaths in our city is tragic, senseless – and even worse, entirely avoidable," La Rocca said. "The death of even one construction worker is wholly unacceptable."
During this sweep, DOB inspectors will be conducting site visits at thousands of construction work sites in neighborhoods across the city. Contractors who are found to be putting their workers at risk by flouting safety regulations could face penalties of up to $25,000 for each construction safety violation. Inspectors will be:
- Ensuring that permitted construction projects are in full compliance with their required site safety plans.
- Confirming that contractors and safety professionals are closely adhering to New York City’s construction safety regulations.
- Checking that workers on site are properly using safety harnesses and fall arrest systems where required.
- Distributing "Worker Alert" safety information on how to prevent worker falls and sending direct mailers to all permit holders performing roof work.
Last month, the department announced that five new construction safety bills were introduced for consideration in the New York City Council. If adopted, these bills would greatly enhance oversight and accountability on construction sites in the city by licensing general contractors who perform construction work, requiring more site safety supervision at larger work sites, strengthening requirements for cold-formed steel construction and permanently banning the dangerous use of stand-off brackets for suspended scaffold work, the department said.
This construction safety legislation package builds upon other recent moves by the DOB to increase safety on the city's construction sites, including increasing penalties for the most serious safety violations, hiring hundreds of additional inspectors, implementing a first-of-its-kind safety training program for the city’s construction workforce and increasing the frequency of unannounced construction safety inspections of large work sites across the city.
These safety efforts spearheaded led to a 34% decrease in injuries on building construction sites in New York City from 2018 to 2020, the department said.