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NYC Construction Injuries Are Down 20%: What We Can Learn About Safety

Even with all the proper precautions, injuries happen, but many organizations go to extreme lengths to prevent as many as possible. You know that the safety measures taken on a job site are extremely important whether you are in the business of demolition, concrete shoring, or any other construction. Recently, New York City’s Department of Buildings placed emphasis on safety training for workers and managers to help and have seen success.

New Legislation

The catalyst for much of the new report is Local Law 196, which has led to building officials being dispatched to job sites in order to educate workers and construction employers both about safety training requirements, as well as deadlines and where they access virtual or in-person classes. Each site must designate a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator, and Site Safety Manager to assist with this enforcement. This applies to any construction site covered by the Department of Buildings, from minor alterations to concrete wall forms to the construction of a new home or building.

The law instituted a number of requirements to increase safety and prevent injuries on the job site. Construction and demolition workers on all covered construction sites must have 30 hours of safety training. When working on a large and complex project, the construction workers must obtain a Site Safety Training card by completing 40 plus hours of training approved by both OSHA and the Department of Buildings. Additionally, a site safety professional can be licensed by the DOB if they have 62 hours of safety training.

Largest Decrease in a Decade

The New York City Department of Buildings released information in October 2020 around its progress on training requirements that were mandated through local legislation from 2017. To date, they have issued 100,000 Site Safety Training cards, demonstrating buy-in from the local building community. Officials from the building department said that this safety training has led to a decrease in job site injuries of over 20%. A decrease like that has not occurred in almost a decade of the department’s records.

It was reported in 2019 that the DOB began conducting over 20,000 unannounced investigations, covering about 25% of all active job sites in New York City. This served to enforce the law and inform workers about interim training requirements, but also allowed them to address dangerous working conditions. Between September of 2018 and November of 2019, a team of 38 inspectors was able to issue over 2,500 stop-work orders and issue fines of $15 million.

The Future of Job Site Safety

Because the program has been successful so far, New York City plans to continue tracking and reporting progress and hopes to see a continued increase in job site safety decrease in job site injuries in the coming years. For those who have not yet completed the mandatory training, the final deadline is March 1st, 2021 to obtain the hours of training and full SST card. To meet this demand, there are now over 100 approved course providers throughout the New York City metro area, with about half offered online.

The department will also begin taking applications for a one-time grant program known as the Construction Site Safety Reimbursement Program, which helps to offset the cost of training for construction companies with 15 or fewer employees.

“The safety of our construction workforce is paramount and requires collaboration and cooperation from all sectors of the industry and our partners in government. Building Congress members strive to provide the highest level of safety on their sites, and we commend Commissioner La Rocca, her team, and the building industry for achieving this milestone,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, New York Building Congress.

Safety in Concrete Shoring

If you are looking to complete a construction project, whether in New York City or not, concrete shoring may be an important consideration. Not only is it critical to many projects, but it can also lead to safety hazards if not handled properly and professionally. Working with experts on the process of shoring can help avoid any pitfalls. At Forming America, we specialize in concrete framework and shoring equipment and supplies, and we are here for any needs you may have surrounding a project. Working with trusted suppliers is a form of job site safety as you ensure you are being given quality materials that will meet the standards of your project.

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