In an effort to reduce construction accident deaths and injuries in New York City, the Department of Buildings has been deploying new strategies and increasing its staff. It just released a new report about it.
New inspection unit
The DOB role is not only to deliver wok permits for new construction or renovations but also to make sure that construction workers are being fully protected when they do their job. In order to do so the DOB created a new inspection unit called the “Construction Safety Compliance”. Inspectors in this unit are targeting mainly large NYC construction sites and making sure that all workers have been following the Site Safety Training and contractors are respecting all construction safety rules.
Permits for construction have been on the rise since 2009 and so have fatalities and injuries sustained by construction workers. In an effort to reduce accidents, the DOB increased its number of inspectors by more than 12 % between 2018 and 2019 and as a result more sites visits were effectuated and more violations were issued. In 2019, DOB inspectors issued a total of 95,468 violations compared to 88,491 in 2018. Among these 95,468 violations, 47,787 were Class – 1 (Immediately hazardous) violations, 46,569 Class – 2 (Major) and 4,201 Class 3 (Lesser).
The most common Class – 1 violations issued by inspectors in 2019 was for “failure to comply with a previous order of the Commissioner”. Contractors who were issued this type of violation had previously received a violation for non-compliant conditions and did not fix them. This demonstrates that sadly there are a lot of negligent contractors in NYC who do not care much for the safety of their workers.
The second most common violation was for work effectuated without proper permits. Cutting corners by hiring unregistered contractors and effectuate unpermitted work is a recipe for accidents and puts not only construction workers but also the public at higher risk of getting injured or dying in accidents.
As a result of an increased number of violations more stop work orders or partial stop work orders were also issued. The complete report can be downloaded here