Beginning June 23, 2008, OSHA brought a dozen additional inspectors into New York City to conduct proactive inspections of high-rise construction sites, cranes, and other places, where fatalities and serious accidents have been occurring.
In January through June of this year, 20 employees died in construction-related accidents. Perhaps the most notorious incidents involved the 2 crane collapses, one on March 10 and the other on May 30, in which not only employees were killed, but also non-workers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time were killed or injured, to say nothing about the extensive property damage sustained.
In addition, ongoing inspections will continue under existing local emphasis programs or as a result of complaints, referrals or accidents. OSHA will review its findings to gauge the impact of these additional inspections and determine what other steps might need to be taken to address this deadly trend.
In addition to enforcement activities, OSHA is pursuing other measures to drive home the importance of construction safety to employers, employees and the construction industry.
Since May, OSHA has been sending copies of violation citations issued to employers on city construction sites to the employers’ insurance or workers’ compensation carriers, and to construction project owners and developers, in order to raise their awareness of occupational hazards found on city job sites. Citations involving training violations at union sites will be sent to the unions representing the workers and to their training funds.
OSHA will continue its ongoing alliance with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), under which OSHA and DOB cross-train their inspectors and managers on each agency’s construction safety standards, regulations and procedures, with a focus on the most common construction hazards likely to harm employees. OSHA also plans to hold outreach meetings with unions and the construction industry to garner their feedback on construction safety issues and elicit their support in reporting hazards and encouraging compliance with safety standards.
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