DOB inspectors visited almost 7,500 constructions sites over the summer. On September 13, 2021, Department of Buildings Commissioner, Melanie E. La Rocca released the results of the new Zero Tolerance Construction Safety campaign, where Department inspectors swept construction sites citywide to check for proper safeguards. The campaign launched in early June following seven construction-related fatalities between January and May 2021.
There were 7,443 site visits in total, 3,666 violations and 1,499 stop-work orders across all five boroughs. The results of the campaign by borough are:
– Manhattan: 1,645 sites visited, 978 violations, 545 stop work orders
– Bronx:722 sites visited, 365 violations, 144 stop work orders
– Brooklyn: 2,757 sites visited in, 1252 violations, 425 stop work orders
– Queens: 1,929 sites visited, 934 violations, 339 stop work orders
– Staten Island: 390 Sites visits, 137 violations, 46 stop work orders
The results of the campaign by work site type:
– New Buildings: 2,814 sites visited, 1,422 violations, 498 stop work orders
– Demolitions: 436 sites visited, 57 violations, 16 stop work orders
– Alterations: 4,193 sites visited, 2,187 violations, 985 stop work orders
To follow up this campaign, the Department of Buildings will be returning to their routine unannounced safety sites inspections, continue interventions at specific sites that had egregious violations, and a push to enact proposed constriction safety legislation.
The Department of Buildings previously announced five new constructions bills that were introduced by the New York City Council. The proposed bills would create a licensing requirement for general contractors; require DOB-licensed superintendents and safety professionals at large sites; strengthen the requirements for cold form steel construction; and a permanent ban on the use of standoff brackets for suspended scaffold work. If these bills were adopted, there would be an enhancement to the city’s oversight and accountability of construction sites.
Commissioner La Rocca stated, ‘“DOB enforcement is of critical importance in promoting safety at construction sites; but the reality is that we cannot be in all places at all times. To protect the lives of the working men and women who are building in our city, we need our partners in the construction industry to step up and join us in pushing for enhanced round-the-clock supervision and greater accountability.”
Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings stated, “Construction deaths will be inevitable without constant vigilance. The DOB’s new Zero Tolerance sweep has shown that our City is up to the task of creating safe working conditions for construction workers. As Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, I am very pleased to see the results of the DOB inspections at approximately 7,500 buildings along with progress on new legislation. We are on the path to giving construction safety the care it deserves.”
By: Taylor Barje (Taylor is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)