New York City construction accidents dropped 18% last year to 128 and injuries fell 7.8% to 152, continuing a three-year downward trend in both categories, according to data from the NYC Dept. of Buildings. However, there were five construction-related fatalities in 2011, up one from the prior year.
The most common construction accident is workers falling, but the five fatalities last year were the result of improper procedures on the job, such as a lack of fall-protection and improper construction practices, DOB says.
Meanwhile, the issuance of construction permits grew 7.7% to 86,895 last year, the third consecutive year in which permit issuance has increased. Demolition work and new buildings accounted for the majority of permits. The agency cites increased enforcement and expanded outreach to the industry for the positive results.
"As construction work steadily increases throughout the city, accidents continue to decline, proving that industry members recognize the importance of safety on any job site," says Robert LiMandri, DOB commissioner.
DOB has implemented more than 25 new construction safety laws and initiatives since 2008. These include building code revisions; a construction site smoking ban; mandatory training for all tower crane workers and requiring the uniform color coding and regular pressure testing of standpipe sprinkler systems; the creation of a Stalled Sites Unit; the creation of a site safety program; and the launch of Experience Is Not Enough, a safety campaign to encourage construction workers to use proper fall protection on the job.
DOB has also launched several initiatives in the last year including the NYC Development Hub, a project review center in Lower Manhattan that receives and reviews digital construction plans. The DOB has also expanded its eFiling system, allowing for more permit approvals by eliminating the need to wait in line and pay for mailing costs.