New York City Holds 4th Annual Construction Safety Week

Last week, April 28 – May 2, 2008, was New York Citys 4th annual Construction Safety Week, the purpose of which is to “advance safe construction practices. Seminars were offered in topics such as Scaffold Safety: Keeping Workers Safe on the Job, (held by the NYC Department of Buildings in conjunction with the Latin American Workers Project), Performing Safe Excavations, Safety First: Urban Demolition, Crane Safety: New Regulations You Must Know and Safe Concrete Operations, Design, Methods and Regulations.

The previous week saw Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resign her position at the Department of Buildings. She admitted to the City Council that the plans for a 43 story tower in Turtle Bay, Manhattan, where a crane collapsed on March 15, 2008, did not meet zoning regulations but were approved anyway. Apparently, a community group, The Turtle Bay Association, had, in a detailed letter, informed the Dept. of Buildings how the building did not meet neighborhood zoning rules before construction began.

Other current news from the Department of Buildings includes the institution, on June 2, 2008, of a program to certify Site Safety Coordinators. Site Safety Coordinators will be responsible for supervising construction and demolition of buildings that are 10 to 14 stories.

On April 1, the Buildings Department launched a new registration program for general contractors. All general contractors seeking permits to erect one-, two-, or three-family homes are now required to register with the Department by October 31, 2008.

After that date, only general contractors registered with the Buildings Department will be issued building permits for these types of buildings. Unregistered individuals or entities found building such homes after October 31, 2008 will be subject to violations, Stop Work Orders, criminal charges, and the seizure of vehicles and construction tools.

And today, acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan announced the completion of a citywide review of all emergency declarations issued since January 1, 2007.

An “emergency declaration” is an order made by the Department of Buildings (DOB) that requires a building owner to perform emergency work needed to make a building safe. Emergency declarations can require many different types of work, including the installation of a protective sidewalk shed, the sealing of a vacant, open or unguarded building, or the shoring, deconstruction or demolition of a structurally compromised building.

The comprehensive review was initiated two days after a partial building collapse at 102 East 124th Street in Manhattan on March 4, 2008. As a result of that incident, three DOB supervisors were suspended. The two Departments are establishing a new data-sharing protocol for buildings requiring emergency work that will streamline communication between the two agencies by making it easier for the DOB to track emergency declarations to confirm that ordered work has been completed. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report non-compliant conditions or 9-1-1 to report emergencies at construction sites.

The personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims, including for workers injured at construction sites. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clientsContact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. To learn more, watch our videos.

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