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NYC Safety Sweep Nets $1M in Fines

Thursday, May 2, 2013

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New York City building officials drove home their annual construction safety push this week with news of almost $1 million in fines issued against nearly 900 low-rise construction sites citywide.

A two-month crackdown called “Operation: Low Rise” targeted construction sites of up to nine stories, the NYC Department of Buildings announced at its 2013 Build Safe / Live Safe Conference, which kicked off Monday (April 29).

Inspectors uncovered 879 safety violations at 920 jobsites inspected as part of the effort.

The department said it had issued full and partial stop-work orders at 12 percent of the jobsites inspected. Penalty fines totaled $954,450.

NYC Safety
Photos: NYC.gov

New York City building officials are not only concerned about high-rise safety:  A recent sweep targeting low-rise sites uncovered nearly 900 violations.

Construction-related fatalities in the city increased to eight last year from five in 2011, and seven of the 2012 deaths occurred on low-rise sites, according to the agency’s press release.

Low-Rise Safety Violations

At sites where conditions presented an imminent threat to safety or work had not been approved by the department, inspectors issued 34 full stop-work orders and 75 partial stop-work orders, the agency said.

Inspectors issued a total of 879 environmental control board violations for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Work without proper permits;
  • Work not conforming to plans;
  • Failure to safeguard;
  • Missing/inadequate handrails;
  • Missing/inadequate guardrails;
  • Failure to provide protection for adjoining buildings; and
  • Missing fire extinguishers.

During the inspections, the authorities focused on enforcing against unprotected openings and improper lightweight steel construction—conditions that contributed to the deaths of two workers at two Brooklyn construction sites in 2012.

‘Experience is Not Enough’ Campaign

The department also distributed more than 10,000 educational flyers during the sweep.

construction site

In 2012, construction-related accidents in New York City increased nearly 37 percent  over the prior year, from 128 to 175; 43 percent of the accidents involved worker falls.

The flyers were part of the department’s multi-lingual safety campaign, Experience Is Not Enough, for low-rise construction operations.

Translated into Spanish and Russian, the documents encouraged workers to take proper precautions on the job site. The flyers also outlined what workers should do when working near shafts and installing lightweight steel.  

In 2012, construction-related accidents in New York City increased nearly 37 percent over the prior year, from 128 to 175; 43 percent of those accidents were due to a worker falling.

Safety Summit

Hundreds of construction professionals and government regulators attended the ninth annual 2013 Build Safe / Live Safe Conference, which featured eight seminars on new construction practices and regulations.

Robert LiMandri, the buildings commissioner, delivered the keynote address Monday, stressing the importance of industry safety and the approval process.

flyer

The department distributed flyers in three languages to encourage construction workers to take proper precautions on the job site.

“As development increases across the city, so must our focus on construction safety,” said LiMandri.

“Any construction operation presents certain risks, and we are working closely with industry members to mitigate those risks so every worker goes home safely at the end of each shift. With new programs such as the acceptance of 3D site safety plans and distribution of educational flyers, we are introducing new methods—and challenging traditional ones—in order to make construction sites safer than ever before.”

He added: "Experience alone does not make any worker invincible, and this conference is a great way to share ideas about the most common accidents and how we can prevent them from reoccurring.”

Safety Week

The conference is part of the New York City Department of Buildings’ Construction Safety Week, an annual series of events and outreach programs aimed at raising awareness.

The NYC Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of over 975,000 buildings and properties by enforcing the City's Building Code, Electrical Code, Zoning Resolution, New York State Labor Law and New York State Multiple Dwelling Law.

The department’s main activities include performing plan examinations, issuing construction permits, inspecting properties, and licensing trades.

The department’s focus is on “safety, service and integrity.”

   

Tagged categories: Building codes; Commercial Construction; Construction; Enforcement; Fall protection; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; Residential Construction; Safety equipment

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