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322 NYC construction sites shut down for lack of safety

construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsHard hats working at 322 construction sites in NYC were at risk of getting injured or dying in construction accidents because their jobsite was not safe.

These 322 sites including 113 in Brooklyn, 83 in Manhattan, 69 in Queens, 54 in the Bronx and 3 in Staten Island were issued a stop work order and fines by the NYC Department of Buildings after its inspectors conducted a massive safety sweep. (See previous blog).

Recent spike in NYC construction accident deaths

Since June 1st, DOB inspectors have been visiting 2,100 construction sites in NYC, focusing mostly on the largest ones. The “zero-tolerance” sweep took place after 5 NYC construction workers died on the job between the beginning of April and the end of May. These deaths, mostly falls, could have been prevented if safety rules had been followed. “The recent spate of construction worker deaths in our city is tragic, senseless — and even worse, entirely avoidable,”  commented DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca.

Immediate shut down for sites not respecting fall safety rules

During the sweep, construction sites where inspectors spotted workers working at heights without using a harness were immediately shut down.  Sites that had no controlled access zones or no guard rails as well as sites on which contractors were not following the safety plan also got shut down immediately. The DOB also closed multiple large sites that did not have a safety professional supervising workers.

1,129 violations for non compliance with safety regulations were issued so far by the DOB inspectors. The sweep is expected to continue.

New regulations under scrutiny

5 construction safety bills are also under the scrutiny of City Hall and are planned to pass soon. One of the bills, intro 2278 requires general contractors to be licensed by the DOB after they receive site safety training. The same bill also allows the DOB to suspend or revoke a general contractor’s license if necessary.  Intro 2263  and 2276 is proposing to have safety professionals and DOB Licensed construction superintendents on large construction sites between 7 and 9 stories. The actual regulation requires a safety professional on 10-story and above sites. Additionally two other bills, intro 2262 and intro 2264 are proposing to ban stand-off brackets and strengthen cold-formed steel construction.