The sweeps will focus on approximately 1,100 sites performing facade work across New York City. On February 18, 2021, the Department of Buildings (DOB) announced the launch of a seven-week long facade and scaffold safety blitz. The campaign includes educational outreach to construction workers and other industry professionals and inspection sweeps of facade work sites citywide.
There are currently 1,100 active construction sites across the city currently engaged in facade work. Educational outreach will include distributing facade work safety information during field inspections, and direct mailings of facade safety information to all contractors who perform facade work, 500 Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs) that perform facade inspection, and more than 100 agency approved work safety course providers.
At the start of this campaign, the Department issued a “Worker Alert” about facade work safety. The Worker Alert is directed at construction workers and provides practical safety information and guidance.
As part of this campaign, the Department will engage in inspection enforcement sweeps citywide to verify site safety and compliance with City regulations. Part of these proactive inspections include sweeps of approximately 300 buildings six stories or under, 500 buildings between seven and fourteen stories, and 300 buildings over fifteen stories tall. Inspectors will now provide detailed checklists to construction contractors when deficiencies are found during inspections.
The Department will also continue with its regular sweeps to ensure buildings with unsafe facade inspection reports have installed necessary public protection where needed. The Facade Unit also inspects Corner/Angle Scaffold inspections to ensure proper scaffold installation and safety compliance.
While part of this safety campaign is in response to the tragic loss of a construction worker last summer who was killed while performing facade work in Midtown, this safety campaign builds on the Department’s efforts to strengthen the Facade Inspection & Safety Program from December 2019.
DOB Commission Melanie E. La Rocca stated, ““We are constantly pushing to establish a culture of safety in this industry. Through a combination of worker engagement and aggressive enforcement sweeps, our inspection teams will be out in force, sending a clear message that we will not tolerate those who put the safety of our fellow New Yorkers at risk.”
Jim Bifulco, President of the Construction Safety Advisory Committee of NY stated, “Strict safety measures, when followed, prevent unnecessary accidents and tragic fatalities. Over the years, we have seen far too many avoidable incidents that have changed the lives of many forever. DOB’s actions to reinforce the need for strict compliance of safety measures is to be commended. As Site Safety Professionals, we will continue to do our part to promote safety and thank the DOB for its efforts and continued partnership on this mission.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)