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For Immediate Release
November 23, 2011


Taking Precautions Can Prevent Accidents and Injuries This Winter

Construction-Related Accidents Have Decreased 23% in 2011

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced 10 tips to remind contractors and developers to “winterize” their construction sites in preparation for the winter months ahead. As harsh conditions approach, industry professionals can take some basic precautions to safeguard their job sites in order to protect the safety of their workforce and the public. With more industry outreach and cooperation, construction-related accidents in New York City have declined 23% in 2011 compared with the same period last year, while there has been a 6% increase in the number of construction permits issued. Earlier this year, the Department issued more than 30 easy-to-follow guides for industry members and property owners on how to perform safe construction operations, obtain proper permits and prepare existing buildings and construction sites for the winter season. The guides are available at

“Preparing a construction site for the winter months is critical to ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Most construction accidents are preventable, and that’s why it’s important for industry professionals to examine every corner of their site before the harsh winter arrives. Construction accidents have decreased significantly in recent years, and a major reason for the decline is that builders are more focused on the importance of safety. A safer construction site means a safer City.”

The Department of Buildings suggests the following 10 tips for contractors and developers 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. Remove ice and snow.

  • 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.

Contact:   Tony Sclafani/ Jennifer Gilbert                                                      (212) 566-3473
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