The New York annual ‘Construction Safety Week’ kick-started with the announcement of the results of Operation: Low Rise that constituted a two-month inspection of low-rise construction sites throughout the five boroughs in the city. The inspection resulted in $954,450 in penalties for 900 safety violations coupled with full and partial ‘stop work orders’ at 12% of the locations inspected.
Attention towards low-rise buildings and construction sites was brought about by the rising fatalities in the industry, most of which occurred at sites having nine stories or less. “The survey was conducted in response to last year’s 37% increase in construction site accidents…. The city’s focus is on low-rise buildings, where seven of the eight fatalities in 2012 occurred.”
NYC’s policies and loose regulations are being cited as contributing factors to dangers of low-rise buildings. “Low-rise sites are not regulated well because they are non-union,” said a member of Laborers’ Local 18A, who did not want to provide his name. “Workers are scared to open their mouths because they would get fired.” [Source: Daily News].
NYC’s Buildings Commissioner, Robert LiMandri announced the results of the operation during the annual Construction Safety Week on April 29 at the 2013 Build Safe/Live Safe Conference at Marriott Downtown.
“As a part of Operation: Low Rise, inspectors issued a total of 879 Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations for a variety of conditions, including missing fences, missing guardrails and work without proper permits. At sites where conditions presented an imminent threat to safety or work had not been approved by the Department, inspectors issued 34 full Stop Work Orders and 75 partial Stop Work Orders.”
A full account of the citywide inspection safety week can be found on the city’s official website.
To encourage safe work practices at low-rise construction sites, safety inspectors from the Department of Buildings also distributed more than 10,000 flyers at hundreds of low-rise sites, under its multilingual safety campaign ‘Experience is Not Enough”.
“Experience alone does not make any worker invincible, and this conference is a great way to share ideas about the most common accidents and how we can prevent them from reoccurring,” said Commissioner LiMandri.