At a time when the construction industry is enjoying an upswing in projects in The Big Apple, related injuries and fatalities are also on the rise.
One of the ongoing concerns is injury from scaffolding accidents on New York City construction sites.
Curbing safety violations
The Buildings Department took positive steps toward increasing safety in 2016 when it hired 140 new inspectors and increased the penalties for safety violations. The DOB sought to increase readiness on these fronts in view of the impending building boom: a record 45,242 hardhats were hired in 2017, according to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. Construction projects in New York City are on the rise and despite the increased interest in safety, accidents continue to happen including those involving scaffolding. Construction workers know about the dangers and understand that serious injuries or death come with the job.
In October 2017, two workers at a construction site in the Bronx fell 20 feet to the ground from the scaffolding they were using. The men were installing stone slabs on the side of a 12-story building when the accident happened. They fell through the gap created by three missing planks and both went to the hospital with head and neck injuries. The Buildings Department found that end railings were also missing from the scaffolding and issued a partial stop-work order on the project.
From January through July of 2018, falling debris on New York City construction sites injured 50 people. July was a particularly difficult month for scaffolding incidents. One worker died on a Morningside Heights project when a piece of scaffolding fell on him. In an Upper East Side incident, a scaffold frame fell and knocked a construction superintendent unconscious.
The mayor steps in
From small building projects to monumental skyscrapers, federal statistics show that construction is the most dangerous job in the city. In the first seven months of 2018, eight people died in construction accidents and 469 people sustained injuries. The figures prompted the mayor to put a new safety initiative in place that requires hardhat workers to take more training.