There were seven fatal accidents involving construction sites in New York City (NYC) in the first five months of 2021, which prompted a major safety sweep of the city’s construction sites. The new “zero tolerance” program started on June 1.
What are the results? Since the program began just a few short months ago, more than 3,600 citations have been issued for safety violations on construction sites and almost 1,500 stop-work orders. On the flip side, not a single construction worker has died since the city-wide initiative began.
Poor oversight on construction sites hurts workers, civilians
Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca described the seven deaths earlier this year as “tragic, senseless — and even worse, entirely avoidable.” Even after the safety sweeps pursuant to the “zero tolerance” program have ended, the Buildings Department intends to continue to perform surprise inspections in hopes that the fear of citations and stop-work orders will keep construction companies on the straight and narrow.
When construction companies permit (or encourage) poor safety practices in the name of speed, they put both workers and pedestrians, drivers and anybody else in the area in danger. All it takes is a piece of scaffolding to come down or tools to blow over the edge of a building for someone to get seriously hurt — or killed.
There are five bills before the City Council that would help with construction site safety, including bans on stand-off brackets for scaffolding and new licensing requirements for general contractors. In general, everything that can be done to make construction sites safer is a step forward for everyone.
If you’ve been hurt in a construction accident in New York or your loved one was killed, you do have rights. Find out more about the compensation that may be available to help meet your losses.