Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today announced that the Department of Buildings (DOB) inspectors have already begun proactive sweeps of over 6,000 construction sites.
The construction sites from Harlem to Hollis, Queens is to educate workers about the importance of construction site safety. The sweeps come in advance of a December 1 deadline by which every worker and supervisor on major construction sites will be required to have undergone mandatory hours of safety training.
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“As the holidays approach, building inspectors are making their list and checking it twice to ensure every relevant site is following the rules and keeping its workers safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Having every worker and supervisor on major construction sites appropriately trained by December 1 isn’t just about following the law—it’s about saving lives.”
“Safety is the number one priority on construction sites and with just over a week left until the December 1st deadline, the City is ramping up its outreach to workers and supervisors to ensure all have completed the necessary and potentially life-saving training,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “No family should be without their loved ones during the holidays due to a lack of focus on safety at the work site.”
“No family should have an empty seat at their dinner table this holiday season because safety wasn’t the top priority on a work site,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “We are sweeping construction sites citywide to enforce proper site safety and prevent needless tragedies. If bad actors ignore these safety precautions, they can look forward to a holiday present of tough enforcement and stiff penalties.”
Inspection teams from units across DOB are being deployed on heightened sweeps of all active Site Safety Training worksites to ensure that construction sites are safe for both workers and the public. This aggressive enforcement action began earlier this month, and will conclude when all sites have been visited. The sweeps come in the wake of two separate work-related accidents where two construction workers in Manhattan lost their lives. These two accidents are still under active investigation, by DOB, partner agencies, and law enforcement.
DOB construction inspectors are investigating worksites across the five boroughs for compliance with existing construction safety rules, ensuring that scaffold safety precautions are being followed, construction cranes are installed and used according to approved plans, and that appropriate fall protection systems are being utilized. Worksites that are found to be unsafe for workers could face penalties of up to $25,000 for each construction safety violation. Sites can also be shut down in the event of serious safety lapses.
In an effort to increase safety on our city’s construction sites over the last few years, DOB has quadrupled penalties for the most serious safety violations, added more than 250 additional inspectors to its ranks since 2015, required safety supervision for all major projects of four stories or greater, is implementing a first-of-its-kind safety training program for the city’s construction workforce and continues to call out bad actors out publicly in monthly enforcement bulletins.
All Site Safety Training worksites in the city have been included in this sweep. Starting on December 1, all construction workers on New York City’s larger work sites will be required to have at least 30 hours of mandatory safety training, while safety supervisors will be required to have at least 62 hours of training. You can find a list of available providers here and the location of all construction sites where training is required here.
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New Yorkers who observe unsafe conditions on a construction site are encouraged to let the Department know about it by submitting a complaint through 311. All complaints made to DOB are anonymous and will be inspected.
“I commend the consistent efforts of Commissioner La Rocca and the Department of Buildings to improve construction site safety across the City. They have made it clear that the Department is laser-focused on improving safety for workers and the public, and they have been great partners in this work,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “These actions help save lives and avoid preventable tragedies.”
“For workers to be safe on the job, we need to have proactive enforcement,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. “The NYC Department of Buildings’ proactive enforcement campaigns is helping to show to bad actors in the business that they need to follow the law and ensure that their workers are getting the training that they need to work safely.”
For more information about construction site safety please visit the DOB website.