Startup plays matchmaker for New York City safety managers and developers
The founders of startup SafetyCoverage.com have launched a website that allows New York City developers and safety professionals to review each other's qualifications and connect online, the Commercial Observer reported.
The company said its service targets licensed safety coordinators and managers who lack contacts in the industry, while helping developers with the staffing necessary to get their projects underway.
- The New York City Department of Buildings requires that a Site Safety Coordinator be present on projects between 10 and 14 stories and that a Site Safety Manager be on hand during construction of buildings 15 stories and higher, or more than 100,000 square feet. The DOB licenses both categories of safety professional.
There are roughly 500 Site Safety Managers available in New York City, Matt Caruso, president of local firm CR Safety, wrote this month in Crain's New York Business. That has led to a scramble among developers, who cannot start their projects without one.
The lengthy licensing process, Caruso explained, has also led to the proliferation of "unscrupulous actors" who use unqualified labor to check safety equipment and jobsite conditions. The dearth of safety managers has led to a logjam in the DOB pipeline that can only be remedied by adjusting the regulations or "fast-tracking" licensing applications.
The concern over safety conditions on New York City job sites has coincided with a building boom that saw construction-site accidents and injuries double between 2014 and 2015. In addition to requiring on-site safety coordinators and managers, the DOB also began a more stringent program of stop-work orders. In the first six months of 2016, alone, the agency issued 4,580 of the orders, 23% more than in the first half of 2015. The DOB has been accused of being too hasty in its decisions to shut down projects, but city officials have given no indication thus far that they're going to ease up, at least in the short-term.
The most recent safety-related suggestion from at least one city official is that the DOB begin classifying city injuries and deaths according to whether the workers are union or non-union. Unions have long held out its cumbersome work rules and higher wages as the trade-off for safer work sites. New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, chair of the city's Committee on Housing and Buildings, said tracking accidents and injuries by union affiliation would determine "who’s safe and who isn’t."
- Commercial Observer Website Aims to Connect Developers to Safety Site Managers Amid Construct Safety Tension
- Crain's New York Business Bureaucratic bottleneck slows city's construction boom
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