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For Immediate Release
April 25, 2011

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF THE 7TH ANNUAL CONSTRUCTION SAFETY WEEK

Build Safe /Live Safe Conference at New York University Kicks off Week of Events

Empire State Building Lit in Orange and White Tonight to Commemorate Safety Week

Accidents Down 56% in First Quarter of 2011 Due to Safety Outreach and Awareness

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the launch of the 7th Annual Construction Safety Week, a week-long series of events aimed at raising awareness about safe construction practices throughout the City. To kickoff this year’s events, the Department hosted a four-hour safety conference – Build Safe / Live Safe: An Inside Look at the Latest Construction Trends in New York City – at New York University in Manhattan today with more than 250 construction industry professionals to discuss new ways to improve construction operations, as well as specific trends identified in recent construction-related accidents. The Department also launched a new safety campaign, entitled “Experience Is Not Enough,” to encourage all construction workers to use proper fall protection, such as guardrails, harnesses and nets, while working on a job site. Construction-related accidents have declined in recent years, but a worker falling remains the most common construction-related accident in the City. To commemorate Construction Safety Week 2011, the top of the Empire State Building will be lit tonight in orange and white, the colors of the new safety campaign.

As a part of today’s Build Safe / Live Safe conference at New York University’s Rosenthal Pavilion, Commissioner LiMandri led a panel of Department experts in discussing safe practices and recent construction trends, including scaffold operations, demolition operations, new concrete requirements and accident prevention. New innovations by industry members also were introduced, such as the use of three-dimensional technology to help contractors build structures in a safer and more efficient manner. The Department is collaborating with Dr. Steven Cohen, Attending Trauma Surgeon at Bellevue Hospital Center and Assistant Professor of Surgery at NYU’s School of Medicine, who discussed the preliminary findings of his ongoing study to understand the types of injuries sustained by construction workers who fall at job sites citywide.

“Construction safety has improved on job sites throughout the City, but we must do more to protect all New Yorkers,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Most accidents can be prevented, and we’re working closer than ever with builders to ensure their sites have the most advanced safety measures available. Even with the best safeguards, all workers must remember to be cautious – and not complacent – on the job site, no matter how many years they’ve worked in this industry. Experience is not enough to protect yourself and each other from a fall, and that’s why we’ve launched a new campaign to remind workers about the importance of wearing a safety harness or installing a guardrail.”

Construction-related accidents have declined 56% in the first quarter of 2011, and the decline is due in part to increased Department outreach efforts and safety awareness among industry members. In the first three months of the year, there were 18 accidents compared to 41 during the same period in 2010. Throughout Construction Safety Week 2011, the Department is hosting a variety of seminars to provide the latest information on safe construction operations, including discussions about new requirements in high-rise construction and the challenges of building in a dense urban environment.

On Tuesday, Department inspectors will visit the Atlantic Yards construction site in downtown Brooklyn, one of the largest ongoing construction projects in the City, and distribute posters, banners and bracelets to workers as part of the new safety campaign. Since 2008, 16 workers have lost their lives due to a lack of proper fall protection, including two fatal accidents earlier this year. In February, two workers, ages 49 and 51, were killed when they fell about 65 feet while installing a steel beam at a job site on West 83rd St. in Manhattan. Inspectors determined safety harnesses were on site at the time of the accident, but they were not being used.

Other events during Construction Safety Week 2011 include:

  • Wednesday, April 27 -
    Boiler Inspections & Resolving ECB Violations
    • 280 Broadway, 3rd Floor Conference Room, MANHATTAN 5:00pm to 7:00pm

  • Thursday, April 28 –
    Flyer Distribution Warning of Illegal Conversions
    • Broadway Junction subway station – BROOKLYN
    • Main Street subway station – QUEENS
    • Staten Island Ferry Terminal – STATEN ISLAND

  • Friday, April 29 – Professional Seminars
    • 280 Broadway, 6th Floor Training Room, MANHATTAN
      Urban Construction Challenges, 1:00pm to 2:00pm
      Benchmarking & Sustainability, 2:15pm to 3:15pm
      Safety Design in High-Rise Construction, 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Since 2008, the Department has implemented more than 25 new laws to increase overall construction safety, including increased standpipe inspections, a smoking ban on construction sites and new training for tower crane workers. The Department also has formed new specialized units to increase its oversight, such as the Concrete Unit which audits concrete-testing work and the Stalled Sites Unit which inspects stalled construction sites to ensure they are maintained in a safer manner. In 2009, the Department launched its first safety campaign that distributed thousands of posters, brochures and banners to construction sites and worker centers across the City.

For more information about Construction Safety Week, please visit www.nyc.gov/buildings or www.nyc.gov/safetyweek.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Ryan FitzGibbon (212) 566-3473
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