Proactive safety inspections to enhance work site safety in response to recent construction-related fatalities
Department of Buildings Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello, R.A. announced the deployment of more than 90 DOB inspectors throughout New York City to perform safety sweeps of construction sites, and educate workers about the importance of construction site safety. These construction inspectors, including those from the Department's newly created Construction Safety Compliance and Construction Safety Enforcement units, the Cranes and Derricks Unit, the Scaffold Safety Unit, and the Special Operations Unit, will be deployed throughout the city to ensure that construction sites are safe for both workers and the public. While performing these sweeps, DOB inspectors will issue enforcement actions if they observe safety violations, and shut down sites if they find serious safety lapses. This effort will hold accountable anyone in the construction industry who cuts corners at the expense of safety. Last week, three construction workers in New York City lost their lives in separate work-related accidents. These three accidents are still under active investigation, by the Department, our partner agencies, and law enforcement.
“One death on a construction site in our city is too many,” said Commissioner Fariello. “We find that most construction accidents could have been prevented with the proper site safety precautions. That is why we are sweeping construction sites across the city, and taking aggressive enforcement actions when we find these precautions are being ignored.”
DOB construction inspectors will be investigating work sites 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, C-hook suspended scaffolds are properly installed, and that appropriate fall protection systems are being utilized. During this sweep, they will be inspecting an estimated 5,000 construction sites. Work sites that are found to be unsafe for workers could face penalties of up to $25,000 for construction safety violations.
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 our 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 is calling bad actors out publicly in monthly enforcement bulletins.
The Construction Safety Compliance (CSC) and Construction Safety Enforcement (CSE) units were created at the Department of Buildings in August 2018, as part of a larger reorganization of the Department's enforcement branch. The CSC Unit is responsible for periodic inspections of active construction sites, reviewing construction site safety plans, and enforcing site safety training requirements set forth in Local Law 196 of 2017. The CSE Unit is responsible for performing emergency inspections, responding to construction safety-related complaints, performing follow-up inspections for previously issued violations and Stop Work Orders, and conducting regular sweeps of active job sites for construction safety compliance.
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.