OSHA Begins Two-Week NYC Construction Blitz, Sending 12 Inspectors

OSHA said today is has sent a dozen additional inspectors to make "proactive inspections" of high-rise construction sites, cranes, and other sites where deaths and serious injuries have been occurring. Twenty construction workers have died in incidents in the city since January, and the agency's leaders in the area said they are taking new measures to drive home the importance of safety. Coincidentally, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee is holding a hearing today on the sufficiency of OSHA's construction enforcement, with the agency's top official, Edwin Foulke Jr., and four other witnesses scheduled to testify. The head of New York City's buildings department resigned in the spring after one deadly collapse of a tower crane in Manhattan.

"There is no one -- among regulators, employers, employees, unions, and trade associations -- who will accept these lost lives as the byproduct of work in a dangerous industry," Louis Ricca Jr., OSHA's acting regional administrator in New York, said in the agency's news release today. "We must all commit to maintaining safety as the number one job priority each and every day."

The other measures besides enforcement that OSHA is taking, it said, are sending copies of violation notices issued to employers on NYC construction sites to the employers' insurance or workers' comp carriers, something OSHA has been doing since May. Citations involving training violations at unionized sites will be sent to the unions representing the workers and to their training funds, OSHA said. The agency has an ongoing alliance with the city's Department of Buildings that includes cross-training of inspectors and managers.

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