|For Immediate Release|
January 11, 2011
BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION-RELATED ACCIDENTS DROPPED BY 28% IN 2010
Accidents and Injuries on Construction Sites Decline Due to Increased Enforcement and Outreach to Construction Industry Members
Four Fatal Construction Accidents Due to Workers Who Fell on Job Sites
Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced a 28% decrease in construction-related accidents in New York City in 2010 when compared to the previous year. In 2010, there were 157 reported construction-related accidents compared to 218 in 2009, a significant decrease that can be largely attributed to increased enforcement, new requirements and greater outreach to the members of the construction industry. There were four fatal construction-related accidents in 2010, a 78% decrease when compared to 2008. All of the fatal construction-related accidents in 2010 involved workers who fell due to a lack of adequate fall protection on the job site. New construction permits for new buildings citywide declined 7% from 1,635 in 2009 to 1,517 in 2010.
Department inspectors and engineers are continuing to investigate a fatal construction-related accident at 84-18 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, Queens, where a concrete wall collapsed yesterday, leading to the death of one worker and injuring three others. A Stop Work Order has been issued to the site, and additional violations are expected to be issued. Since 2008, the Department has implemented more than 25 new construction safety laws, created new inspectorial units to address building trends and worked closely with industry members to raise awareness about the importance of safety for their workers and New Yorkers.
"The decrease in accidents in 2010 shows that construction can be done safer, but yesterday's tragic incident is a reminder of how dangerous this work can be," said Commissioner LiMandri. "Our inspectors, engineers and architects are working harder than ever to protect New Yorkers, and as a result, there is a heightened awareness of safety throughout the construction industry. Many contractors and developers have added new safety measures to better safeguard their sites, such as cocoon systems to prevent falling debris, but there are some who continue to take shortcuts. Taking proper safety precautions can mean the difference between life and death."
The total number of reported construction-related injuries also dropped from 241 injuries in 2009 to 165 in 2010, a 31% decrease. Similar to the decrease in accidents, the decline in injuries can be largely attributed to increased regulatory oversight, including more thorough inspections, the implementation of new Department regulations and safety programs and more industry members recognizing the importance of site safety measures at the job site. In 2010, Department inspectors issued more than 6,700 full and partial Stop Work Orders when unsafe construction conditions were found.
In 2010, there were four construction-related fatalities - two in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan - all involving workers who fell during construction operations due to a lack of proper fall protection measures, as required by law. In 2009, the Department launched a multi-lingual worker safety campaign that distributed thousands of posters, brochures and banners to construction sites and worker centers across the City to encourage workers to wear their safety harnesses. There were three fatal construction-related accidents in 2009, 19 in 2008, 12 in 2007 and 18 in 2006.
In 2010, the Department hosted its sixth annual Construction Safety Week, a week-long series of events which included educational seminars, community meetings and visits to construction sites throughout the City. Since 2008, the Department has launched a series of initiatives to increase construction safety, including:
A new Stalled Sites Unit which has conducted more than 10,000 inspections of stalled construction sites to ensure properties are maintained in a safe manner;
A new Concrete Unit which has conducted more than 350 audits of field and lab work by private concrete-testing laboratories licensed by the Department;
Requirements for construction and demolition operations, such as mandatory training for all tower crane workers, advanced notification and more detailed drawings for demolition work and increased standpipe inspections; and
The first revision of the City's construction codes in 40 years, which took full effect in 2009 and expanded safety requirements during the construction process.
Since 2008, the Department has worked closely with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council and the leaders of the construction industry to enact more than 25 new safety laws, including:
Instituting a smoking ban on all construction sites;
Requiring the uniform color coding of standpipes and sprinkler systems;
Mandating regular pressure testing of standpipe and sprinkler systems; and
Requiring a pressurized alarm for standpipe systems.
Contact: Tony Sclafani/Jennifer FitzGibbon (212) 566-3473
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