Following deaths, NYC calls for construction safety reform
At a news conference Wednesday with the Acting Buildings Department Commissioner Limandri at his side, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a series of proposals the City would adopt to monitor construction safety. With 16 deaths from construction accidents so far this year, 9 of them in two crane accidents over the past three months, the Mayor called the current state of affairs with regard to construction safety in the City 'unacceptable'. The new safety measures are aimed at monitoring contractors’ safety records more closely and shutting down the most serious offenders. The measures also introduce new training requirements and safety rules in key areas including crane operations that will make construction sites safer.
The proposals will require general contractors and concrete subcontractors to register for a safety control number before obtaining building permits, require concrete site safety managers on job sites, and enable the Buildings Department to assign a safety monitor to jobs with multiple violations or otherwise poor safety records. With regard to crane operations, the city will mandate a safety meeting prior to the erecting, jumping or dismantling of a crane. More training will be required for workers performing rigging operations and the use of nylon slings will be restricted.
The mayor’s new safety plan also addresses the credentialing of the Buildings Department Commissioner and proposes a crack down on architects and engineers who have been previously disciplined. Going forward, either the Buildings Commissioner or the First Deputy Commissioner will be required to be a registered architect or licensed engineer. And, architects and engineers who have been disciplined will be reported to the State Department of Education and run the risk of having their license suspended or revoked.
Over the next month, the Buildings Department, the Law Department and the City Council will be working with members of the construction industry to draft the bills outlined in the City’s new legislative safety agenda.