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Construction worker deaths prompt winter safety campaign in NYC

Photo: Alex Potemkin/iStockphoto

New York — In response to the recent deaths of four New York City construction employees in separate workplace incidents, the NYC Department of Buildings has launched a winter construction safety campaign.

All of the city’s approximately 40,000 permitted worksites will be subject to ongoing sweeps through February, according to a DOB press release. Inspectors will walk the sites looking for unsafe conditions, distribute multilingual education materials on common worksite hazards, and talk directly to workers at morning safety meetings about the dangers they can encounter when NYC and federal OSHA safety regulations are ignored.

At the city’s larger and more complex worksites, dedicated safety supervision is required, along with pre-shift safety meetings for all workers. During the campaign, inspectors will provide safety personnel and supervisors with additional content to include in those meetings. At smaller sites, which aren’t required to conduct toolbox talks, inspectors will recommend that contractors conduct daily safety talks to raise awareness of injury prevention.

Worksites found to be violating NYC construction safety regulations could face fines of up to $25,000 per violation.

“We must acknowledge that there are inherent risks whenever someone steps foot on a construction site, but that doesn’t mean we should accept avoidable injuries and deaths,” acting DOB Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik said in the release. “I have ordered construction safety inspectors to fan out across the city to hammer home the message to contractors and workers that cutting corners when it comes to safety can have deadly consequences.”

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