NYC Construction Deaths Fell 84 Percent Last Year

The NYC Buildings Department says the three construction fatalities in 2009 -- a sharp decrease from 19 the year before -- were the fewest in the past four years.

The New York City Department of Buildings summed up its 2009 accomplishments recently, starting with a good year in terms of construction fatalities. There were three construction-related fatalities during the year, an 84 percent decrease from 2008's 19 deaths and the lowest number of construction-related fatalities in the past four years, according to the recap.

The department also:

  • completed an unprecedented analysis of high-risk construction and delivered 66 recommendations to improve how crane, hoist, excavation, and concrete operations are regulated and carried out in the city.
  • hosted its Fifth Annual Construction Safety Week, including 14 seminars and construction site visits in all five boroughs.
  • began using GPS technology to track the on-duty locations of all inspectors.
  • opened a new, city-owned concrete testing laboratory and a new departmental Concrete Unit to audit the work of private firms.
  • provided elevator and escalator safety tips to more than 2,000 children in first, second, or third grades citywide during National Elevator Escalator Safety Week.
  • created a Stalled Sites Unit to monitor stalled construction and work with owners and developers to keep the sites safe.
  • joined a partnership with Chicago and Philadelphia to share critical data on tower cranes erected in the three cities.
  • began using new NYC Construction Codes that were fully enacted in July 2009; these include new fire safety measures, new safeguards during the construction process, and expanded structural safety requirements for new construction.
  • launched a citywide campaign to urge workers to wear fall harnesses with the slogan "If You Fall, They Fall Too," distributing more than 1,500 posters, 300 banners, and 20,000 pamphlets in seven languages to high-rise construction sites, worker centers, union halls, community centers, and telephone kiosks.

The department enforces city building, electrical, zoning codes and state labor laws and is dedicated to ensuring the safe and lawful use of more than 975,000 buildings and properties.

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