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New York City Halts Construction Due to Safety Concerns

Grandelli Law, New York City Halts Construction Due to Safety Concerns
Thursday, October 14, 2021

The City of New York has recently issued nearly 1,500 stop work orders citing construction safety.

Following a staggering increase in construction accidents, including multiple tragic fatalities, the City of New York has recently issued nearly 1,500 stop work orders for work-sites across the five boroughs. On June 1st, 2021, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) implemented zero-tolerance policies designed to curb accidents on jobsites. These new guidelines were initiated due to seven fatalities at construction sites within the first half of the year. For three months, inspectors were dispatched to various types of construction projects during a wide safety sweep. Projects including: new building, demolition and alteration were carefully inspected and received violations accordingly. The findings of the initiative were announced by City Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca last month. According to the Commissioner, roughly 7,500 building construction sites were visited, and over 3,600 safety violations were issued to contractors and site safety personnel. 

The results of the safety sweep indicate that Brooklyn was the borough with the most construction violations, while the majority of the sites ordered to stop work were located in Manhattan. La Rocca acknowledged that it was not possible constantly supervise all job sites to ensure proper safety measures were being taken. However, she emphasized the importance of compliance with these new regulations stating that, “to protect the lives of the working men and women who are building our city, we need our partners in the construction industry to step up and join us in pushing for enhanced round-the-clock supervision and greater accountability.” Although the official sweep has ended, DOB inspectors will continue to make surprise visits to sites and hand out violations if necessary. 

New York State has laws that are designed to protect construction workers and encourage building owners and general contractors to ensure that their sites are run safely.  New York’s Labor Law Section 240(1) creates strict liability for owners and general contractors who fail to provide adequate safety equipment for work being done at elevated heights, or to protect worker’s from falling objects. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, falls from elevated heights are the leading cause of workplace deaths for construction workers. These falls account for more than one-third of total fatalities in the industry. President of the Trades Council, Gary LaBarbera, noted that “while efforts have been made in recent years to improve and enhance the safety of construction sites, much more stands to be accomplished, particularly on non-union worksites, to ensure the safety of all construction workers.” Guidelines to increase worker safety should always be celebrated, however, rules can only do so much to protect laborers. The best way to receive compensation for all expenses in an accident is to hire a proven injury attorney. 

Grandelli & Eskenasi has generated many multimillion-dollar recoveries for victims of construction accidents and their families. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident on a construction site, contact our firm to discuss your rights with a free consultation.



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