"Our inspectors, engineers, and architects are working harder than ever to protect New Yorkers and as a result, there is a heightened awareness of safety throughout the construction industry," Commissioner Robert LiMandri said.

NYC Construction Accidents Down 28 Percent Last Year

Only four fatal construction accidents occurred in the city during 2010, all of them falls. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri credits increased enforcement, new requirements, and more outreach to the construction industry for the improvements.

Overall accidents and fatal accidents both fell significantly in New York City in 2010, the city's Department of Buildings announced this week. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said there were 157 construction accidents during the year, down 28 percent from 218 in the previous year, which he attributed mainly to increased enforcement, new requirements, and more outreach to the construction industry.

Construction injuries declined 31 percent, from 241 injuries in 2009 to 165 in 2010. By comparison, new construction permits for new buildings citywide declined 7 percent, from 1,635 in 2009 to 1,517 in 2010. There were four fatal construction accidents in 2010 -- two in Brooklyn, the other two in Manhattan -- and all involved workers who fell at job sites. Three fatal construction accidents occurred in 2009, 19 in 2008, 12 in 2007, and 18 in 2006.

2011 hasn't started well: Department inspectors and engineers are investigating a Jan. 10 accident in Queens where a concrete wall collapsed, killing one worker and injuring three others. A Stop Work Order has been issued to the site, according to the department, which issued more than 6,700 full and partial Stop Work Orders in 2010 after finding unsafe construction conditions.

"The decrease in accidents in 2010 shows that construction can be done safer, but yesterday's tragic incident is a reminder of how dangerous this work can be," LiMandri said the next day. "Our inspectors, engineers, and architects are working harder than ever to protect New Yorkers and as a result, there is a heightened awareness of safety throughout the construction industry. Many contractors and developers have added new safety measures to better safeguard their sites, such as cocoon systems to prevent falling debris, but there are some who continue to take shortcuts. Taking proper safety precautions can mean the difference between life and death."

Actions taking since 2008 by the department include these:

  • A new Stalled Sites Unit has conducted more than 10,000 inspections of stalled construction sites to ensure properties are maintained safely.
  • A new Concrete Unit has conducted more than 350 audits of field and lab work by private concrete-testing laboratories licensed by the department.
  • Construction and demolition operations are required to offer mandatory training for all tower crane workers. Advanced notification and more detailed drawings for demolition work are required, and standpipe inspections increased.
  • The first revision of the city's construction codes in 40 years took full effect in 2009, expanding safety requirements during the construction process.
  • Smoking has been banned on all construction sites.
  • Uniform color coding of standpipes and sprinkler systems is required.
  • Regular pressure testing of standpipe and sprinkler systems must be performed.
  • A pressurized alarm for standpipe systems is required.

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