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For Immediate Release
January 6, 2014


10 Safety Tips to Prepare Construction Sites for the Winter Season

The Buildings Department today reminded property owners and contractors to prepare their construction sites for the winter season by implementing basic safety measures. As the cold weather approaches, construction professionals should take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of individuals in and around their construction sites. Since 2008, the Department has launched several public safety campaigns focused on increasing construction and building safety, including distributing flyers warning against the dangers of illegal conversions; providing tips on how to winterize homes; and offering no-fee penalty inspections of porches, decks and retaining walls in all five boroughs. Last year, the Department released an extreme weather guide to aid contractors and construction site managers in developing an action plan for their jobsites including proper task-planning, pre-storm preparation, emergency response and post-storm inspection and repair.

“The best way to prevent accidents is to be prepared,” said Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello. “With winter already bringing snow and ice to our area, we want to remind all construction professionals of their responsibility to “winterize” their job sites in order to ensure safety of workers and New Yorkers. These tips should serve as a standard checklist on how to prepare sites for the winter weather so all New Yorkers can have a safe winter season.”

The Department suggests the following 10 tips for property owners and contractors on how to “winterize” their construction sites:

  • Fire safety precautions: Replace wooden access ladders to forming and stripping floors with non-combustible ladders and store materials away from flames. All temporary heating equipment must comply with the New York City Fire Code.

  • Safeguarding pipes Never thaw frozen pipes with a flame, which can cause fires and steam explosions. Carefully thaw frozen areas with a heat gun, heat lamp or space heater.

  • Safeguarding a water tank: Make sure to have your roof water tank inspected to ensure it is protected from freezing.

  • Debris removal: Remove loose and discarded debris after each work day to ensure materials do not fall or shift to the street level. Contractors should remove snow and de-ice around construction sites. If ice removal is not possible, building owners and managers should rope off the unsafe area.

  • Secure equipment: Secure all construction materials, netting, ladders, chutes and accessories that could shift during inclement weather. Store smaller items in a tool box or container for future use.

  • Secure temporary structures: Secure all scaffolding and sidewalk sheds, which are temporary structures that provide overhead protection for pedestrians during construction operations. Secure fencing as well.

  • No work in icy conditions: Avoid all work on scaffolds covered in snow, ice or slippery materials, except to remedy to hazardous condition

  • No work in stormy conditions Avoid all work on or from a scaffold during storms and high winds unless construction workers are protected by a fall-protection system

  • Hoist safety: Avoid using personnel hoists in heavy rain, freezing conditions or winds reaching up to 35 miles per hour. Hoists that have been exposed to winds stronger than 35 miles per hour must be inspected before use

  • Crane safety: Cranes must be properly stored, inspected and maintained at all times – including positioning for inclement weather. Use extra precaution in areas where water and ice may accumulate on the crane, creating a fall hazard or falling ice hazard.

Under §28-301.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, property owners are legally obligated to maintain their properties in a safe condition. The Department produces materials to help better prepare the construction industry for potential severe weather events, as well as distributes weather advisories are a courtesy to remind property owners to prepare their properties for inclement weather. To sign up for the Department’s weather advisories, visit

Contact: Kelly Magee (212) 393-2126
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