Construction Industry Foiled in Its Attempt to Avoid Complying with New York City’s Regulations Governing Cranes, Derricks and Hoisting Equipment

In Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York, the Steel Institute of New York, advancing the interests of the construction industry, sued the City of New York challenging local statutes and regulations that govern the use of cranes, derricks, and other hoisting equipment in construction and demolition. The Steel Institute argued that they are preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the “Act”) and federal standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (McMahon, J.) dismissed the suit on summary judgment, … Read the rest

NYC Buildings Department Holds Hearing on Proposed Rules Implementing Stringent Requirements for Department-Approved Courses as Part of License Qualification

A number of provisions of the Administrative Code of the City of New York and the Rules of the City of New York require that individuals in the construction trades take department-approved courses as part of trade license qualification, license renewal and worker training. The New York City Buildings Department is proposing new rules implementing tougher requirements for such courses to improve safety to constructions workers and to the public. These tougher standards would apply to course content requirements, course review, course instructors, course facilities, attendance records, course completion and course providers. A public hearing regarding the proposed rules was … Read the rest

Neighbors Attempt to Make Rollerblading on Their Dangerous Property “At Your Own Risk” Fails

In Custodi v. Town of Amherst, 2012 WL 5305789 (October 30, 2012), the plaintiff broke her hip when she tripped and fell while rollerblading in her residential neighborhood. She fell as she attempted to rollerblade from the sidewalk into the street when one of her skates allegedly struck a two-inch height differential where the edge of defendants’ driveway met a drainage culvert that ran the length of the street. The Court of Appeals rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit by contending that plaintiff necessarily assumed the inherent risk of a fall by choosing to rollerblade on their … Read the rest

New York City Council Moves to Expand Regulation of Pedicabs to Avoid Rate Gouging

Approximately two years ago the New York City Council imposed comprehensive regulations upon pedicabs which had been operating with almost no rules and endangering the safety of riders, pedestrians and others. The closest those regulations came to controlling pedicab rates was requiring that a rate card be posted, but not limiting how much could be charged. But with a Texas family being charged $442.00 for a 14-block ride in a pedicab, that could change. Whereas before pedicabs had the option of charging by time, the law may be changed to prohibit all other formulas and to set a mandatory fee … Read the rest

Think the Elevator in Your Building is the Worst in New York City?

Maybe so, but can you brag that yours is one of the ten worst elevator offenders in New York City? If you want to know, go to the website of the New York City Buildings Department, you can find a list of ten of the top offenders who will be pursued under the Department’s Elevator Enforcement Program. The list is compiled using complaint data, violations, maintenance filings, and field inspection records. Many of these type of reports are available online and may serve as a gauge of the safety of a building and potential for liability for an unsafe condition … Read the rest

Should New York City Require Elevator Inspectors to Be Licensed?

Your first reaction may be, “You mean right now they’re not?!” Yet it’s true. But after three elevator accidents, two of them fatal, in six months, the City Council is considering licensing elevator mechanics for the first time. Council officials say most people do not realize the mechanics that fix the elevators are not licensed. The city’s building commissioner supports the licensing measure. The council is also considering a bill to require safety devices in some residential buildings to prevent elevators from skyrocketing to the ceiling.

New York is among just 14 states that do not require that elevator technicians … Read the rest

New York City Buildings Department Releases 2011 Annual Report

The 2011 Annual Report, released last month, touts New York City as the nation’s safest big city in 2011. 2011 marked a near-historic low number of fire fatalities, a 10th consecutive year of fewer than 600 murders, a record-breaking low number of traffic deaths — and an 18% decrease in construction-related accidents, which follows an almost 28% reduction in 2010 from 2009. Construction-related injury rates also continue to improve. There were approximately 8% fewer injuries in 2011 over 2010, following a nearly 32% decline in 2010 from 2009. Construction-related fatalities remained low, with five caused by falls or shoddy construction. … Read the rest

Construction-Related Accidents Decreased By 18 Percent In 2011 Even As Construction Permits Increased Across New York City

There was an 18 percent decrease in construction-related accidents in New York City for 2011, despite a 7.7 percent increase in the issuance of construction permits citywide. Construction-related injuries also decreased across the City last year – falling from 165 reported accidents in 2010 to 152 in 2011, a reduction of 7.8 percent. In total, there were five construction-related fatalities in 2011, a slight increase from four fatalities in 2010, but a 73 percent decrease when compared to 2008.

The Department of Buildings has implemented more than 25 new construction safety laws since 2008 to enhance public safety and provide … Read the rest

New York City Buildings Department Teaches Students How to Stay Safe While Riding the City’s 62,000 Elevators and Escalators

We’ve written several times about the NYC Buildings Department’s annual Construction Safety Week, including the citywide safety campaign to encourage construction workers to use proper fall protection. Another public education program run by the Buildings Department is National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week. The 8th annual program took place last month. Aimed at children, the program’s safety slogan is “Ring, Relax, Wait,” which reminds children to ring the elevator’s safety bell in an emergency and wait patiently for help instead of trying to pry the doors open. Many elevator accidents occur when passengers attempt to jump out of the elevator … Read the rest

Unlawful Taxi Hailings and Other Violations You May Not Know About (or At Least Know Where to Find)

A recent article in The New York Times brought to light a little-known New York City Regulation that prohibits a person from hailing or procuring a taxi for another not in his or her social company. The article relayed the tale of Juan Bannister who, after flagging down a taxi, placing the stranger’s luggage in the trunk, and receiving a $1.50 tip, was promptly arrested at the scene and charged with the unlawful hailing of a taxicab. Mr. Bannister pleaded guilty to the charges against him and received a sentence of seven days in jail, including time served.

I looked … Read the rest