While the level of construction activity in New York City remained relatively steady in 2023 compared to the previous year, there was an encouraging decline in construction-related fatalities, according to an annual report by the New York City Department of Buildings.

Building construction fatalities in New York City declined by 36% in 2023, with seven workers losing their lives, which is a nine-year low.

“This is a remarkable year-over-year drop and marks the lowest number of fatalities in our industry in nine years. That trend is encouraging to say the least, as we continue to use every tool at our disposal to push that number closer and closer to zero. Reductions in fatal incidents in this industry is welcome news, but even one death in our industry is unacceptable,” said Jame Oddo, commissioner of the NYC Department of Buildings.

However, this positive development was overshadowed by a 25% increase in the number of injuries reported to the Department of Buildings on building construction sites in 2023.

Injuries on construction sites have risen 38% over the past three years, following a pandemic-related slowdown in 2020, the report found. However, one silver lining is that 2023’s 692 injuries on building sites is 8% lower than the record 759 injuries logged in 2018, the report noted.

There was a 17% increased in ladder falls, stair falls, and tripping incidents in 2023. While these incidents were investigated by the DOB, they did not result in any enforcement actions as all required safeguards were found to be in place at the time of injury, the report stated. The incidents were deemed to be errors on behalf of the workers, a trend that the Department is investigating further to determine the underlying causes and potential solutions.

Worker falls from elevation continue to be the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries on construction sites, a long-standing issue in New York City, as well as across the state and the country, the report said.

“Contractors and safety supervisors must take steps to drastically reduce the risk of worker falls by adhering to DOB and OSHA safety regulations for guardrails, controlled access zones near leading edges, and enforce the use of appropriate fall arrest systems and harnesses,” the Department of Buildings stated.

The Department of Buildings conducted over 370,000 field inspections of construction sites across the city’s five boroughs in 2023, the highest total on record.

The Department said its safety education initiatives are making an impact, as evidenced by a 32% drop in the number of Stop Work Orders issued in 2023 compared to the prior year. To increase transparency, the Department created a new online Stop Work Order Map showing the location and details of these orders.

Enforcement remains a key tool as well, with the Department continuing to issue violations, suspend or revoke licenses, levy fines, restrict filing privileges, and support criminal prosecution against licensees and construction professionals who exhibit egregious behavior that puts New Yorkers at risk.

In response to a string of tragic fatalities among construction workers in late 2022, the DOB launched a Winter Construction Safety Campaign spanning several months into 2023. This campaign included citywide enforcement sweeps of construction sites regardless of size, as well as educational outreach emphasizing the importance of mandatory pre-shift Tool Box Talks to review scheduled work activities and associated safety risks.

To view the full report, visit the NYC Department of Buildings website. &

The post NYC Construction Fatalities Decline, but Injuries Rise in 2023 appeared first on Risk & Insurance.

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