Personal Injury

NYC construction deaths plunge thanks to better regulations, enforcement, awareness

New York City construction-related accidents fell by 28 percent in 2010 over the previous year, the city’s Buildings Commissioner announced. The Department of Buildings says the dramatic improvement can be attributed to increased enforcement, 25 new safety regulations, and a greater outreach to members of the construction industry.

The figure is based on 157 construction accidents reported in 2010, including 4 fatal accidents. All four of the construction workers killed last year died as a result of inadequate fall protections on the job site. Despite the safety deficiencies in those company worksites, fatal on-the-job construction accidents nevertheless decreased 78 percent from 2008.

Since 2008, New York City’s Buildings Department has implemented more than 25 new construction safety laws, created new inspection units to address building trends, and worked closely with the construction industry to raise awareness about the importance of safety for their workers and New Yorkers.

The number of reported injuries on construction worksites also dropped in proportion to the number of accidents. There were 165 injuries reported last year, down 31 percent from 2009 when 241 injuries were reported.

“The decrease in accidents in 2010 shows that construction can be done safer, but yesterday’s tragic incident is a reminder of how dangerous this work can be,” said Commissioner LiMandri, referring to the collapse of a concrete wall at a construction site in Queens that killed one worker and injured three others.

“Our inspectors, engineers and architects are working harder than ever to protect New Yorkers, and as a result, there is a heightened awareness of safety throughout the construction industry,” LiMandri said. “Many contractors and developers have added new safety measures to better safeguard their sites, such as cocoon systems to prevent falling debris, but there are some who continue to take shortcuts. Taking proper safety precautions can mean the difference between life and death.”