Despite New Safety Bill, Construction Accidents Sharply Increase in New York City

Fueled by a building boom in Midtown Manhattan, construction accidents continue to increase in New York City. In the first seven months of the year, construction deaths have doubled, and construction accidents overall have increased by 17 percent. In addition, injuries from construction accidents have increased by 18.4 percent, according to Construction Dive. The increase in construction accidents comes amid a building boom in New York City where an estimated $15 billion in construction activity occurred from January 2018 to May 2018.

According to the federal government, construction workers have the most dangerous job in New York City. Deaths in the construction industry accounted for 37.5 percent of all work-related deaths. As of August 2018, there have been eight construction related deaths – mostly caused by falling debris. All the deaths occurred in Manhattan.

The increase in construction accidents this year comes at the same time Mayor de Blasio’s controversial safety bill comes into effect. Under the law which went into effect in January, all new construction workers must take 59 hours of safety training or take an apprenticeship program. Workers already in the construction industry only needed ten hours of additional training, which should have been completed by March of this year.

In 2016, Mayor de Blasio quadrupled fines against construction companies for safety violations and hired 140 new building inspectors to curb the increase in accidents. The law also required construction companies to publish all construction accidents and safety violations online, attempting to shame construction companies who do not follow the rules. Unfortunately, all of these new regulations do not appear to be very effective.

Speaking to The New York Post, Joseph Soldevere said the uptick in construction accidents is caused by “an unprecedented construction boom” in New York City. Regarding Mayor de Blasio’s safety initiatives, Soldevere said, “We’re taking aggressive action against bad-actor contractors and construction professionals – and calling them out publicly in monthly enforcement bulletins.”

 

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