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For Immediate Release
April 26, 2010

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER LIMANDRI JOINS FIRE COMMISSIONER CASSANO AND OEM COMMISSIONER BRUNO TO KICKOFF SIXTH ANNUAL CONSTRUCTION SAFETY WEEK

Department Experts Host 15 Events in All Five Boroughs to Increase Construction Safety

  Events Include Construction Site Visits, Seminars for Industry Professionals and Community Meetings Co-Sponsored by Borough Presidents in Each Borough

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today joined Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano and Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno to launch the Department of Buildings' sixth 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 of Buildings (DOB) is partnering with multiple City agencies and industry organizations to host 15 safety events, including construction site visits, educational seminars and community outreach programs. These events are designed to promote construction safety among all sectors of the construction industry and provide an opportunity to work with residents in identifying new building trends in their neighborhoods. For the community events, each of the Department of Buildings' five Borough Commissioners will join with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer to discuss construction issues in their boroughs. Due to the enactment of new safety laws, increased enforcement and more industry outreach, construction-related fatalities dropped 84% in 2009 compared to the previous year.

In Brooklyn today, Commissioner LiMandri met with Commissioners Cassano and Bruno, as well as DOB's Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Thomas Fariello and DOB inspectors, at the site of an 11-story building under construction at 775 Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Led by Commissioner LiMandri, the officials spoke to groups of construction workers about the dangers of the job and the importance of following all safety precautions, such as new standpipe regulations and wearing a safety harness on the job site.

Construction work at the Lafayette Avenue site, which was once stalled, had been subject to inspections by DOB's Stalled Sites Unit, which was formed in February 2009 to increase oversight of the growing number of stalled construction sites. Since then, the unit has performed more than 6,000 inspections of stalled sites throughout the City. Under DOB's new Stalled Sites Safety Program, builders with stalled projects can extend their permits up to four years if they submit a site-specific safety maintenance plan to better ensure the safety of the site.

 "A safer construction site means a safer City," said Commissioner LiMandri. "In the past year, fatal construction accidents have dropped significantly, but we must continue to reinforce the importance of safety at all levels of the construction process. With the support of Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, we have implemented 25 new safety laws and worked closely with the FDNY and other agencies and industry leaders to increase safety awareness on job sites across the City. But more can still be done - and that's why we have reached out to more industry and community groups for this year's Construction Safety Week. Safety education is the key to preventing construction accidents and better protecting all New Yorkers."

 "Serving this great City requires much more than responding to emergencies. We need to be proactive by working to prevent them," said Commissioner Cassano. "Commissioner LiMandri, Commissioner Bruno and I, along with Mayor Bloomberg and all of our colleagues in city government, share a deep commitment to educating the public and giving them the resources they need to stay safe. Construction Safety Week is a fantastic opportunity for all those who work in the industry to partner with us so we can continue this very positive trend of fewer construction accidents. Safety should always be paramount, above any other concern, at every construction site in New York City."

"Mother Nature has shown us time and again that inclement weather, particularly high winds, can make for dangerous working conditions," said Commissioner Bruno. "During strong winds, unsecured equipment or loose debris can cause serious injury to workers and the public. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking a few extra steps when operating at a construction site to make sure all of the proper safeguards are in place."

"Construction workers face a variety of potential dangers and hazards each day, and it is important that they are able to get the job done without injury," said Borough President Diaz Jr. "Construction Safety Week is a great tool to help our city construction employees know the potential dangers that can exist on any site, minimizing the number of construction injuries and fatalities. I am pleased to be part of this educational program, and I look forward to joining Commissioner Robert LiMandri to work for the improvement of our city workers' safety."

"New York City's construction boom has brought jobs and redevelopment to places like Downtown Brooklyn, but no project is worth the loss of a human life," said Borough President Markowitz. "The Department of Buildings and Commissioner LiMandri have worked hard to dramatically reduce the number of construction-related injuries and fatalities citywide, and I look forward to working with them, Brooklyn Commissioner Tom Fariello and my fellow borough presidents during Construction Safety Week to discuss even more ways to protect residents and the men and women who build our great city."

"I am happy to support Construction Safety Week and host the various City agencies involved in this effort to protect the safety of all those involved in building our future," said Borough President Marshall. "Here in Queens, we are experiencing great growth in new housing and retail opportunities as our landscape is transformed. Our entire city is growing greener using new technology and expertise. We want this to happen in a secure and safe environment with the best safety measures in place to protect the individuals who are directly involved in the dangerous job of construction and all sectors of the industry. I look forward to working with Queens Commissioner Ira Gluckman to make certain that we do all that we can do to make this happen."

  "We're happy to join with the Buildings Department on this important initiative to raise awareness about safe construction practices," said Borough President Molinaro. "Staten Island is the fastest-growing borough, and I'm pleased to co-sponsor an information seminar to discuss construction safety and other issues important to our community. I encourage Islanders to join us for an evening of educational and helpful discussion."

 "Our challenge as public officials is to protect New Yorkers against the dangers of construction and to make this work safe so that the City can continue to develop and prosper without another tragedy," said Borough President Stringer. "I want to commend the Department of Buildings for identifying comprehensive ways to promote construction safety across the five boroughs, and I look forward to joining Commissioner LiMandri and Manhattan Borough Commissioner Lee to educate community members, construction workers and others on the City's newly enacted safe building practices and laws."

 During the week, DOB inspectors and administrative staffers are visiting construction sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens to distribute safety brochures and encourage workers to follow basic safety requirements on the job site. In Staten Island, Department officials will join with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and immigrant advocacy groups to offer a safety training session for construction workers. The Department also is offering a wide range of seminars on safe work practices, including:

" Maintaining Safety at Stalled Construction Sites: An important discussion led by DOB's Stalled Sites Unit focusing on measures that property owners must take to ensure their sites are safeguarded while construction is suspended. Panelists will discuss new data, trends and field observations.   

" Requirements for Site Safety Professionals and Special Inspections: A unique opportunity for industry professionals to learn about the different safety personnel required on a job site, including the new Concrete Safety Manager. Department experts will discuss requirements for demolition and site safety jobs, as well as changes in the Special Inspector registration and qualification program. 

" Safe Practices at High Rise Construction Sites: A thorough review of new fire safety regulations that must be followed at construction sites, including requirements for the color-coding of standpipe and sprinkler systems. Department experts will discuss best practices for high-rise operations and the use of new technology, such as cocooning systems that can be employed on a job site to enhance safety. 

" Building in a Dense Urban Environment: An in-depth look at the importance of creating a historical profile of a building or site before the start of any construction work. Through web-based assessments and research, DOB engineers will detail how to review previous work history at a site and determine the previous violations and structural conditions of neighboring properties. The experts will discuss how these factors can impact a building's structural condition.

" Safety and Sustainability in the Building Code & Zoning Resolution: A great opportunity for industry professionals to learn about fire safety and egress requirements in the 2008 Building Code with a focus on Chapters 4, 9 and 10. DOB experts will discuss sustainability provisions in the City's codes, recent legislation enacted as part of the City's Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, as well as the Energy Code and zoning requirements for bicycle access, landscaping and side yards.
 
During the week, DOB and the five Borough Presidents are hosting meetings with community members in each borough where Borough Commissioners and other DOB officials will discuss the state of local construction and provide tips on how to resolve ECB violations and obtain permits for construction work at home. At these events, the Department of Consumer Affairs will advise homeowners on how to identify and hire a licensed contractor, and the Department of Housing and Preservation will be on hand to answer questions about the City's Housing Maintenance Code and how to apply for courses to help owners, managing agents and building superintendents develop technical, management and finance skills.

This year, DOB has partnered with a variety of government agencies and industry organizations to host Construction Safety Week, including: the Departments of Consumer Affairs, Design and Construction, Environmental Protection, Housing and Preservation and Investigation; City University of New York, School Construction Authority; Fire Department of New York; Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; Office of Emergency Management; U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration; American Council of Engineering Companies; American Institute of Architects including New York, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island chapters; American Society of Safety Engineers; Building & Construction Trades Council; Buildings Trades Employees Association; Central Labor Council; Contractors Association of Greater New York; El Centro del Immigrante; General Contractors Association; Hoisting and Scaffolding Trade Association; Holy Name Church; International Code Council; McGraw Hill/New York Construction; National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators; New York State Society of Architects; New York State Society of Professional Engineers  including New York, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island chapters; Project Hospitality; Real Estate Board of New York; Structural Engineers Association of New York; Subcontractors Trade Association; and Women Builders' Council.

For more information on Construction Safety Week, please visit www.nyc.gov/buildings.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473

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