- Construction-related accidents, injuries and fatalities in New York City increased in the first seven months of 2018 when compared to the same period last year, according to data maintained by the city's Department of Buildings. The number of accidents increased approximately 18.4% year over year from 386 to 457 and the number of injuries rose about 17% from 401 to 469. Meanwhile, construction-related deaths increased from four to eight.
- Manhattan had the highest number of accidents (248), injuries (253) and deaths (4) out of all five boroughs from January through July 2018. Fatalities so far this year include a worker fall down an elevator shaft on a Manhattan project; a head injury on a Bronx jobsite after a worker was hit by a hoist; an electrocution of a Manhattan worker; and a head injury caused by the collapse of a 12-story scaffold system in Manhattan, and other incidents.
- The increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities comes as New York City is in the throes of a building boom. In a recent Dodge Data & Analytics new construction starts report, the New York City metro area saw activity worth $15 billion from January 2018 through May 2018, beating out all other major metros.
Safety is a constant industry concern, and New York City officials have been developing regulations for some time in response to what appears to be a boom-driven increase in construction-related accidents and deaths.
About a year ago, the New York City Council passed a controversial new regulation that requires construction workers to take 40 hours of safety training. Those already working in the industry were required to complete the equivalent of a 10-hour OSHA course by March 2018 and the remaining hours by December. If, however, the DOB determines that there are not enough training facilities to accommodate the city's workforce, that completion date can be pushed back as far as September 2020.
The final rule represents a compromise on the part of the city council, which originally proposed a 59-hour training requirement and wanted all construction workers to complete an apprenticeship program or its equivalent. The non-union construction industry cried foul and argued that about 50% of apprenticeship programs in the city were union-sponsored. But even the watered-down version of the council's safety measures has drawn criticism from some non-union contractors and developers which have complained that the cost of implementing a 40-hour training program will be a financial burden on small construction businesses and independent contractors.