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Local law, the DOB and the uptick in construction accidents

The construction industry in New York City is alive and well, but the same does not apply to a large number of unfortunate workers.

Data from the Office of the Comptroller shows a significant increase in construction-related injuries and fatalities in New York City. A local law mandates safety training, but the training deadline keeps changing.

Fatal accident reported

In November 2018, CBS New York reported that a 44-year-old construction worker died after falling material struck him at a job site in Brooklyn. This kind of fatality is not unusual. Along with workers falling from heights, falling debris is a primary cause of injuries and death at building sites.

Department of Building data

The Department of Building data shows that the number of construction-related accidents more than tripled from FY 2014 to FY 2018. In that period of time, DOB personnel responded to 129 incidents. There were 16 fatalities in FY 2018. By comparison, there were nine to 11 fatalities in the three-year span between FY 2015 and FY 2017 and six fatalities in FY 2014. Between July and October 2018, which represent the first four months of FY 2019, there were five fatalities. To date in this fiscal year, 270 construction-related injuries have been reported.

The training issue

The City Council passed Local Law 196 in 2017. This law sets out safety training requirements for workers on new construction sites. However, due to a lack of training resources, there has been a continuing deadline for implementing the law. Currently, the deadline is Dec. 1, 2019, but there is also an option for another one-year delay.

A word about weather

One effort the DOB is making in terms of promoting safety on construction sites is the weather advisory they send out. They remind property owners, building contractors and crane operators about high winds and the need to take precautions when a storm is imminent. Among the advice the department gives is to secure any construction material and loose debris. Whether severe weather is on its way or not, it is a warning that, if implemented, might have prevented the death of a construction worker in Brooklyn.

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