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Tuesday, January 31, 2017
By Louis Grandelli

In an effort to reduce the number of accidents on construction work sites, the New York City Department of Buildings has increased the issuance and enforcement of construction violations. The DOB’s initiative comes after an alarming number of deaths and accidents on such work sites in the last few years.

Over the last two years alone, 31 people were killed in construction site accidents in New York, and work site injuries increased by 250 percent from 2011 to 2015 according to the DOB. As a result, in February of 2016, the DOB began its initiative to have better oversight on work sites to reduce the number of construction related accidents and fatalities.

In the month following the DOB’s announcement alone, construction violations issued rose by 46.8% from 2,727 to 4,004 since the year prior. Violations further continued to grow through June of 2016, with 3,762 violations issued in that month alone. Overall, the number of construction related accidents was totaled at 500 during 2016, a 59 percent increase from the 314 in 2015.

The DOB’s response comes after a number of more serious construction accident. In December of 2015, a construction worker fell to his death at the Domino Sugar development site in Brooklyn. Two months later, a 15 story crane collapsed in Tribeca and killed an individual on the street below.

Overall, New York City is launching a comprehensive effort to lower the number of construction accidents beyond this initiative alone. A number of bills are set to be presented by the City Council to revamp the city’s construction protocol and procedure.

Among these are bills which would require apprenticeship programs, a new system for keeping track of construction related fatalities, and additional safety training for workers on site. Another suggested bill is said to call for a change in the state’s penal law to include violations directed to the construction industry and to increase fines to a potential of $50,000 per incident.

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