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For Immediate Release
April 29, 2013


More than 900 Low-Rise Construction Sites Targeted as Part of Operation: Low Rise

                  Nearly $1 Million in Minimum Penalties as a Result of Safety Violations Issued

Safety Summit at Marriott Downtown Kicks Off Ninth Annual Construction Safety Week


Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today kicked off the Department’s ninth annual Construction Safety Week with the 2013 Build Safe/Live Safe Conference at the New York Marriott Downtown in Lower Manhattan. More than 400 construction professionals and government regulators attended the daylong conference where the Department announced the results of Operation: Low Rise, a two-month long inspection sweep of low-rise construction sites throughout the City. Following detailed inspections at 920 sites, inspectors issued full and partial Stop Work Orders at 12% of the locations – where construction operations were stopped due to unsafe conditions. In total, nearly 900 safety violations were issued, including a minimum of $954,450 in penalties. As a part of the multi-lingual safety campaign, Experience Is Not Enough, inspectors are also distributing more than 10,000 educational flyers at hundreds of low-rise sites, encouraging workers to take proper precautions on the job site. In 2012, construction-related fatalities increased from five to 8, and seven of these deaths occurred on low-rise sites, buildings under construction that will be nine stories and less. 

Commissioner LiMandri delivered the keynote address at the safety summit, focusing on how the Department’s members have worked diligently to raise the industry safety standards while improving the approval process so more construction projects can break ground. 

“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.” said Commissioner LiMandri. “As development increases across the City, so must our focus on construction safety. 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 constructions sites safer than ever before.”

As a part of Operation: Low Rise, inspectors issued a total of 879 Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations for a variety of conditions, including missing fences, missing guardrails and work without proper permits. 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. Common violations issued include:

  • Work without permit;                                                           
  • Failure to safeguard;                                                             
  • Guardrails missing/inadequate;                                            
  • Handrails missing/inadequate;                                             
  • Work does not conform to plans;                                         
  • Failure to provide protection for adjoining buildings; and
  • Fire extinguisher missing.

During their inspections, inspectors focused on enforcing against unprotected openings and improper c-joist (lightweight steel) construction – conditions that contributed to the tragic deaths of two workers at two Brooklyn construction sites in 2012. The Department’s new educational flyers, which were translated into Spanish and Russian, also addressed these conditions, outlining what workers should do when working near shaft ways and installing lightweight steel at a construction site. Examples of the flyers are attached. Last year, construction-related accidents in New York City increased nearly 37% from 128 to 175, and 43% of those accidents were due to a worker falling.

At the 2013 Build Safe/Live Safe Conference, Department experts held eight seminars on new construction practices and regulations, six of which applied toward continuing education credits for licensed industry professionals. At the safety summit, Department officials also staffed 10 informational booths on ongoing initiatives designed to improve the construction experience for all New Yorkers – from the latest on the Department’s NYC Development Hub, which allows more than 90% of all construction documents to be filed online, to resolving outstanding violations on a construction site to submitting 3D site safety plans. New York is among the first cities in the world to accept and review 3D site safety plans for construction operations and approvals. The topics of the eight seminars were as follows:

  • BIM Advantage in Site Safety Plans
  • Creating BIM Site Safety Plans
  • Steel C-Joist Construction
  • Powering Electric Cranes
  • Mast Climber Safety
  • Developing High Rises in Flood Zones
  • Maintaining and Repairing Elevators
  • Becoming a Course Provider or Special Inspector

Construction Safety Week is an annual series of events and outreach programs aimed at raising awareness about construction safety. Other events during this week include informational tours at the NYC Development Hub in Lower Manhattan and the distribution of safety flyers as part of the Experience Is Not Enough campaign. The citywide safety campaign emphasizes the importance of safe construction practices, such as the use of safety harnesses, guardrails and netting, despite a worker’s years of experience. Since the campaign’s launch in 2011, more than 30,000 posters, banners and bracelets have been distributed to sites throughout the City.

View Fall Protection Flyer
View C-Joist Flyer

Contact: Tony Sclafani/Gloria Chin (212) 566-3473
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