After the death of seven construction workers so far this year in New York City, including three in May, the city’s Department of Buildings plans to crack down on safety violations.
The deaths include a worker falling down an elevator shaft and another falling off a four-story roof. In addition to the seven deaths, more than 1,000 construction workers have been injured on the job in the past two years, mostly from falls.
“The recent spate of construction worker deaths in our city is tragic, senseless — and even worse, entirely avoidable,” DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said.
While the closure of 300 sites may seem significant, New York City’s building boom includes 35,000 permitted job sites since 2014.
Eight workers died in 2020; 12 in 2019.
“As we know all too well, the very building projects and construction activity that has powered our city’s amazing growth into a global capital can pose their own potential hazards,” La Rocca stated in the report. “When regulations are ignored, and the proper safety precautions have not been implemented, the consequences can be devastating.”
As part of the crackdown, inspectors stop construction if they see employees working without harnesses or without “controlled access zones” or guard rails. In addition, they stop work on non safety professionally supervised sites. Regulations require official safety professionals to be present in construction areas ten stories up or higher.
Inspectors wrote 1,129 citations for safety and noncompliance infractions during the crackdown.
New York City officials plan to review seven different safety bills for construction sites in hearings next month with a rash of recent construction worker injuries.