DOB Launches Winter Construction Safety Campaign

Image Credit: NYC DOB.

The campaign follows four tragic fatalities on construction sites between November and December 2022. On December 28, 2022, Department of Buildings Acting Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik announced the launch of a new winter construction safety campaign. The safety campaign aims to highlight potential dangers for serious injuries and fatalities on work sites. The campaign follows a series of four tragic instances of worker fatalities on sites in November and December.

All of the approximately 40,000 permitted construction work sites citywide will be subject to ongoing enforcement sweeps. During the sweeps, Buildings inspectors will check for unsafe conditions, distribute educational materials about common work site hazards, and speak with workers directly. Materials will be available for workers in multiple languages.  

According to the Department of Buildings, worker falls are the leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Eight of the ten fatalities on construction sites in New York City in 2022 were the result of a worker fall. Additional attention will be paid to fall protection systems during sweeps. Work sites found violating safety regulations can face penalties of up to $25,000. Stop-work orders can be issued where immediate hazards need to be corrected.

The Department of Buildings has implemented several different initiatives to promote worker safety including mandatory training, more requirements for direct supervision by safety professionals, and surprise inspections. Between 2018 to 2021, the City saw a 33 percent reduction in injuries. In 2021, a similar safety campaign with sweeps found over 3,600 violations and resulted in the issuance of almost 1,500 stop-work orders. 

Mayor Eric Adams stated, “Safety must come first on any construction site, and that means ensuring that everyone on a site has the resources and information they need to stay safe. It also means holding those in charge accountable for their obligations to the law and to their workers. With this construction safety blitz, we can halt the trend of recent tragedies and help our city continue to grow while protecting the hard-working New Yorkers on the front lines every day.”

Acting Commissioner Vilenchik stated, “We must acknowledge that there are inherent risks whenever someone steps foot on a construction site, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept avoidable injuries and deaths. We believe that every death on a construction site in this city is preventable, which is why instituting proper safeguards and bringing attention to the dangers associated with work sites is critically important. I have ordered construction safety inspectors to fan out across the City to hammer home the message to contractors and workers that cutting corners when it comes to safety can have deadly consequences.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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