FEWER INJURIES ON WORK SITES
Mayor Hails Safer Construction In L.I.C.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Robert LiMandri came to Long Island City on Monday, Jan. 23, to announce an 18 percent decrease in construction related accidents in New York City for 2011, despite a 7.7 percent increase in the issuance of construction permits citywide.
Construction-related injuries also decreased across the city last year— falling from 165 reported accidents in 2010 to 152 in 2011, a reduction of 7.8 percent. In total, there were five construction-related fatalities in 2011, a slight increase from four fatalities in 2010, but a 73 percent decrease when compared to 2008.
In addition to increased enforcement, expanded outreach to construction industry members and greater cooperation by builders throughout the city, the DOB has implemented more than 25 new construction safety laws since 2008 to enhance public safety and provide businesses and developers with the confidence to invest in the five boroughs, create good-paying jobs and promote economic growth.
The mayor made the announcement at a T.F. Cornerstone construc- site in Long Island City, one of the tens of thousands in the five boroughs which applied for a construction permit in 2011, and was joined by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Real Estate Board of New York President Steve Spinola and Building Trades Employers’ Association President and CEO Lou Coletti.
“One of the best ways we can keep our city’s economic recovery on track and help put more New Yorkers to work is by ensuring businesses and developers have the confidence to invest in New York City,” said Bloomberg. “The good news is even as construction activity rose by nearly eight percent last year, the number of construction-related accidents fell by more than 18 percent. Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, his predecessor Ed Skyler, Commissioner LiMandri and their respective teams have done a remarkable job making construction sites safer for those who use them, while making it easier and more efficient for businesses to create jobs and get projects off the ground.”
Since 2008, the Department of Buildings has implemented a series of comprehensive initiatives to promote construction safety and increase awareness and cooperation among construction industry members. In large part due to these efforts, the mayor noted, construction-related accidents and injuries have fallen across the board each of the last three years.
The total number of reported construction related injuries decreased from 165 in 2010 to 152 in 2011, a decline of 7.8 percent and 37 percent lower than in 2009. Likewise, construction related accidents in New York City fell 18 percent from 157 in 2010 to 128 in 2011, a reduction of 18 percent and a 41 percent decrease when compared to 2009.
“As construction work steadily increases throughout the city, accidents continue to decline – proving that industry members recognize the importance of safety on any job site,” said LiMandri. “Development is critical to this city’s growth and success, but there’s no reason why that work cannot be done safely. With new laws, tougher enforcement and more cooperation from the industry, our in- spectors, engineers, architects and attorneys have made construction sites safer—meaning a safer city for all New Yorkers.”
“A rising construction rate plus a declining accident rate equals great news for workers and our city’s economy,” said Maloney. “New York has fared better than most cities during the economic downturn, and that’s due to continued private-sector investment and the leadership shown by Mayor Bloomberg and his team.”
“Both the city and the state recognize that a safe workplace is not a privilege, it's a right,” said Lancman. “The mayor’s success in making construction sites safer is not just a statistic, it’s men and women coming home to their families safe after a hard day’s work.”
While the most common construction accident remains workers falling, the number of workers who were injured in a fall declined from 66 in 2010 to 52 in 2011, a 21 percent decrease. Last year, after the DOB discovered unsafe construction conditions, it issued more than 5,100 full and partial stop work orders.
Of the five construction-related fatalities in 2011, all involved construction workers who were killed as a result of improper procedures on the job site, such as a lack of fall protection and improper construction practices.
A few examples of the new initiatives launched by the Department of Buildings in recent years to enhance public safety, provide greater oversight and increase industry awareness include:
• first revision of the city’s construction codes in 40 years, which took full effect in 2009 and expanded safety requirements during the construction process;
• more than 25 new construction safety laws, including a smoking ban on all construction sites, mandatory training for all tower crane workers and requiring the uniform color coding and regular pressure testing of standpipe sprinkler systems;
• creation of a Stalled Sites Unit that has conducted more than 14,000 inspections of stalled construction sites to ensure properties are maintained in a safe manner;
• creation of a site safety program for major construction projects that allows contractors to submit plans for an enhanced review by Department experts; and
• launch of Experience Is Not Enough, a citywide safety campaign to encourage construction workers to use proper fall protection, such as safety harnesses, guardrails or nets, with more than 12,000 banners, bracelets and posters were distributed to construction sites across the city.
While there were notable decreases in construction-related accidents and injuries, the mayor said, the number of initial construction permits— including new buildings, major and minor alterations and demolitions— increased by 7.7 percent from 80,675 to 86,895 in 2011. This marks the third consecutive year where the issuance of permits has increased, fueled by a rise in smallscale construction, a positive sign for both the construction industry.
Of the initial construction-related permits issued last year, the largest increase occurred in demolition permits— an indicator of future construction projects—from 1,645 in 2010 to 1,848 in 2011. Construction permits for new buildings also increased slightly from 1,517 to 1,523. Similarly, permits for major alterations, or Alteration Type 1, rose from 2,878 to 3,081 in 2011—a 7.1 percent spike—and permits for minor alterations, or Alteration Type 2 and Alteration Type 3, increased 7.8 percent from 74,635 to 80,443.
This past year, the Department of Buildings launched a number of new programs to accelerate the development process and speed up job creation without sacrificing public safety, including the creation of the NYC Development Hub.
The Hub, a state-of-the-art project review center in lower Manhattan which receives and reviews digital construction plans, allows plan examiners to review building designs easier, faster and without the use of paper for the first time in New York City. Licensed architects and engineers can submit digital construction plans and resolve any issues with city officials in a virtual environment— without ever having to meet in person.
The Department also expanded its eFiling system to allow for more online permit approvals than ever before, eliminating the need to wait in line and pay for mailing costs and saving customers both time and money.
Post new comment