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For Immediate Release
April 27, 2009

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI KICKS OFF FIFTH ANNUAL CONSTRUCTION SAFETY WEEK

Free Safety Harnesses Provided to Construction Workers

Free Educational Programs Offered in All Five Boroughs to Increase Construction Safety

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today launched the Department’s fifth annual Construction Safety Week, a week-long series of events aimed at raising awareness about safe construction practices across the City. Throughout the week, the Department is hosting a variety of seminars, programs and outreach events in all five boroughs to promote construction safety among all sectors of the construction industry. In Manhattan today, Commissioner LiMandri joined Department inspectors at the site of a 26-story hotel under construction at 150 Lafayette St. to speak with workers about the dangers of the job and the importance of following basic safety precautions, including wearing a safety harness at all times on the job site.

Later today at New Utrecht Reformed Church in Brooklyn, Commissioner LiMandri and other Department members will provide safety training to workers in English and Spanish and distribute free safety harnesses to the first 75 participants. The safety harnesses were donated by manufacturers, Gemtor and Mine Safety Appliances Company, and the Hoisting and Scaffolding Trade Association.

"A worker falling on the job is the most common cause of accidents on construction sites, and Construction Safety Week is a perfect opportunity to remind workers how to protect themselves and each other,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “We must have everyone’s commitment to make construction sites safer, from the architects who design building plans to the contractors who pour concrete foundations to the thousands of workers who risk their lives each day. When safety is sacrificed for speed, the consequences can be tragic for everyone."

Construction operations pose certain risks, and there are too many lives lost when people fail to follow the most basic safety measures,” said First Deputy Commissioner Fatma Amer. “This week, we hope to educate the workforce and their employers on how to stay safe and ensure every worker goes home to their families at night.

During the week, the Department is offering a wide range of educational seminars and programs on safe construction practices, including the Department’s efforts over the past year to increase construction safety. Department officials will be visiting construction sites in all five boroughs to encourage workers to follow safety regulations while distributing posters, banners and brochures as part of the worker safety campaign launched in February. Eight of the 19 construction-related fatalities in 2008 were due to a worker falling.

Other events this week include an update on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s report on strengthening construction, demolition and abatement operations, a educational seminar on the new NYC Construction Codes, which take effect on July 1, and homeowner nights in every borough which will focus on how to resolve ECB violations and legalize illegal conversions. The Department also will join the Department of Consumer Affairs for an educational seminar on how to identify and hire a licensed contractor.

Three seminars during the week will focus on the findings of the High Risk Construction Oversight study, which resulted in more than 40 recommendations on how to improve crane, hoists, concrete and excavations operations. Under the $4 million study, more than 30 engineering experts from CTL Engineers and Construction Technology Consultants, P.C. (CTL) worked with the Department and industry members to review the regulations, materials, processes, and systems employed during high-risk construction. The recommendations are based on nearly 600 job site visits, as well as the Department’s safety conferences last year with crane manufacturers and building officials from cities around the world.

The Department has partnered with a variety of organizations to host Construction Safety Week, including: the American Institute of Architects, American Society of Safety Engineers, the Building Trade Employers’ Association, the Building & Construction Trades Council, Building Contractors Association, the Contractors’ Association of Greater New York, Central Labor Council, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Environmental Protection, District Council 37, the Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Investigation, El Centro del Immigrante, the New York City Fire Department, Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, Gemtor, General Contractors Association, the Hoisting and Scaffolding Trade Association, the International Code Council, Make The Road New York, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, McGraw-Hill/NY Construction, MSA North America, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operations, the New York Building Congress, the New York Immigration Coalition, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, the Office of Emergency Management, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Project Hope Line, Project Hospitality, Real Estate Board of New York, the Structural Engineers Association of New York, St. Francis of Assisi, the Subcontractors Trade Association, Weill Cornell Medical Center, the Women’s Builders’ Council and The Cooper Union.

For more information about Construction Safety Week, please visit ww.nyc.gov/buildings.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Kate Lindquist (212) 566-3473

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