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NYC construction fatalities down, but incidents and injuries up: report

Photo: AerialPerspective Works/gettyimages

New York — Although deaths at New York City building construction sites fell to their lowest level in nearly a decade in 2023, work-related injuries rose 25%, reports the city’s Department of Buildings.

DOB’s annual Construction Safety Report shows that 841 building construction-related incidents occurred last year across the city’s five boroughs, resulting in 692 injuries and seven worker deaths. The incident total represents an 11.8% annual increase, but is still 30.6% below the 1,212 recorded in 2017. 

The seven deaths are the fewest recorded by DOB in nine years. The city saw 11 deaths the year before. Conversely, the injury total is up from 554 in 2022 and marks the highest figure since 2018, when 759 injuries were registered.

Since the COVID-19-related construction shutdowns in 2020, the injury total has risen every year and is up 38%. Of particular concern, DOB says, is a combined 17% jump in ladder falls, stair falls and tripping incidents.

Most of the injuries and deaths last year were the result of worker falls, followed by mechanical equipment and material falls.

Although DOB has 1,600 employees focused on safety, Commissioner James Oddo said construction professionals can offer a helping hand in keeping workers safe.

“It is incumbent upon contractors, site safety professionals and construction workers to be responsible for adhering to both the city and federal OSHA regulations,” Oddo said in the report.

Future DOB efforts to promote safety include a continuation of the winter construction safety campaign, year-round education initiatives and a focus on preventing fatal overdoes among construction workers

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