Earlier this year, the NYC Department of Buildings announced that it would be mobilizing inspectors to crack down on construction safety violations at work sites across the city following a string of worker deaths. According to Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca, the sweeps were part of the DOB’s “Zero Tolerance” enforcement campaign and focused on the city’s larger and more complex construction sites
Now, the results are in.
According to a DOB press release, inspectors issued thousands of citations and Stop Work Orders to contractors and site safety professions over a three-month period between June and September.
- Sweeps were conducted at 7,433 work sites in all five boroughs.
- DOB inspectors issued over 3,600 violations for failures to keep work sites safe.
- Nearly 1,500 Stop Work Orders were issued at work sites across the city.
The DOB’s Zero Tolerance campaign was launched after officials reported seven construction worker fatalities in just the first five months of the year. Inspectors worked to ensure contractors were following NYC construction safety regulations and that permitted projects were in full compliance with site safety plans. Special attention was given to ensuring proper use of harnesses, controlled access zones, and other prevention measures related to falls, the leading cause of worker deaths on construction sites.
Based on their findings, inspectors issued violations or shut down sites with serious safety lapses until they were corrected. Inspection results by borough:
- Brooklyn: 1252 violations, 425 stop work orders
- Manhattan: 978 violations, 545 stop work orders
- Queens: 934 violations, 339 stop work orders
- Bronx: 385 violations, 144 stop work orders
- Staten Island: 137 violations, 46 stop work orders
The DOB’s “Zero Tolerance” campaign is an important tool for ensuring that developers, property owners, and contractors comply with the law and uphold their obligations to protect workers. It also comes as the DOB has upped the frequency of site inspections, increased penalties for the most serious violations, and backed a construction safety legislation package currently under consideration by the NYC Council. Some of the changes proposed by these bills include:
- A new licensing requirement for contractors to prove relevant experience.
- Giving DOB authority to take actions against contractors’ licenses.
- Increasing the number of sites requiring mandatory safety supervision personnel.
As a firm that has fought for victims of construction accidents since 1983, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., supports sensible safety policies and the DOB’s efforts to make construction sites safer.
These measures, if passed, would require projects to have more contracted professionals on site who are specifically dedicated to accident prevention and worker safety – and would send contractors a clear message that worker safety is always the priority.