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NYC Shuts Down 300 Construction Sites Over Safety Concerns On The Heels Of New Zero Tolerance Safety Program

New York, New York – More than 300 construction zones in NYC have been shut down due to local inspection reports. Apparently, these 300-some-odd zones were not, nor have not been following admissible safety guidelines deemed by NYC’s Department of Buildings. Immediate, abrupt inspections were deemed by over 1,000 injuries while on the job within the past two years. Inclusively, scrutiny at the federal level following a deadly condominium collapse in Surfeside, FL. This year alone, 7 construction workers were killed while working at the zones throughout NYC. Knowingly, 3 tragedies happened last month in May.

Melanie La Rocca states:

“The recent spate of construction worker deaths in our city is tragic, senseless- and even worse, entirely avoidable.” -Melanie La Rocca Department of Buildings Commissioner

A major reported safety issue was improper use of harness while working on higher-floor levels. Tragically 32-year-old Queens resident, Diego Lliguicota fell down an elevator shaft from the 6th floor of a Long Island City building.

Another construction worker fell from a Flatbush Bank he was helping to demolish. He was not wearing a harness when he lost his footing, falling 4-stories from the roof top. Without avail, this happened only 5 days after the previously mentioned tragedy.

Consequently, these circumstances have led to a hearing at the NYC City Hall, scheduled to commence in July, according to Daily News.

A press release on June 1, 2021 From New York DOB:

ZERO TOLERANCE: DOB ANNOUNCES SWEEP OF CONSTRUCTION SITES FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS

Any Conditions Found Posing Serious Hazards to Construction Workers and The Public Will Result in Immediate Stop Work Orders

New York, NY – Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today announced the mobilization of teams of DOB enforcement inspectors across the five boroughs to perform safety sweeps of the city’s larger and more complex construction sites, to ensure that they are safe for both workers and the public. 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. Our 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 New York City lost their lives in separate work-related incidents. Two of these fatal incidents were the result of worker falls. These three incidents are still under investigation by the Department and our partners in law enforcement.

“The recent spate of construction worker deaths in our city is tragic, senseless – and even worse, entirely avoidable,” said Commissioner La Rocca. “Department inspectors have been directed to sweep work sites around the city, and unsafe conditions will be met with zero tolerance. 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. At each work site, we will specifically 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 robust 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 we support were introduced for consideration in the New York City Council. If adopted, these consequential bills would greatly enhance oversight and accountability on construction sites in our 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.

This construction safety legislation package builds upon on the work already done at DOB to increase safety on our city’s construction sites in recent years, including increasing penalties for the most serious safety violations, adding hundreds of  additional inspectors to our ranks, fully 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 construction safety efforts spearheaded by DOB led to a 34% decrease in injuries on building construction sites in New York City from 2018 to 2020. For more information on construction safety please visit our website at www.nyc.gov/nycsafety.

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