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NYC construction incidents down for third straight year: report

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New York — Building construction-related incidents in New York City dropped 10.6% in 2021, and combined worker injuries and deaths edged up less than 1% even as the number of construction permits issued increased nearly 14%, reports the city’s Department of Buildings.

DOB’s second annual Construction Safety Report shows that 712 building construction-related incidents occurred last year across the city’s five boroughs, resulting in 505 injuries and nine worker deaths. The incident total marks the third straight annual decrease and is more than 40% lower than the 2018 total of 1,193. Meanwhile, the injury and death totals are down 33% and 31%, respectively, from their 2018 totals.

DOB said the addition of nearly 150 staff members (including safety inspectors), combined with a three-month Zero Tolerance safety campaign that launched June 1, played a key role in identifying unsafe working conditions at building construction worksites. After the campaign began, the city averaged 37.3 injuries a month – a 16.4% drop from 44.6 a month over the first five months of the year.

Conversely, construction safety violations increased 14.4% in 2021, while the number of stop-work orders issued fell 8.1%.

DOB made several changes last year in an effort to enhance safety on jobsites, including:

  • Expanding the number of jobsites required to have a dedicated site safety coordinator or site safety manager.
  • Requiring major building construction sites to hire a separate full-time construction superintendent to work alongside an SSC or SSM.
  • Beginning the process, “over the next several years,” of reducing the number of sites that construction superintendents can simultaneously supervise.
 

The report noted that although the number of incidents decreased, worker injuries that occurred were more likely to require medical attention.

“Construction remains a bedrock industry in our growing city, and we owe it to our fellow New Yorkers to continue to push for safer worksites for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” acting DOB commissioner Constadino “Gus” Sirakis said in a press release. “Data analysis like this is a critical part of our strategy to help our industry partners properly safeguard their worksites.”

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