As we’ve noted in previous blog posts, New York City is in the midst of a building boom. From commercial skyscrapers and parking ramps to high-end hotels and residential properties, during 2014 alone, the city’s Buildings Department issued roughly 142,000 building permits, which represents a nearly 20 percent jump in just three years.
While the current boom in the construction of commercial and residential buildings is viewed by many as a positive sign of economic prosperity, the workers who have been injured and families who have lost loved ones in fatal construction accidents, likely view things differently.
While individual construction companies and work site foremen are legally responsible for the safety and health of individual construction workers, many fall woefully short in fulfilling their duties. Consequently, construction workers who aren’t provided with adequate training or safety equipment are at an increased risk of being injured or killed on the job.
To help enforce construction site safety regulations, the city hires construction site safety inspectors who travel to and inspect construction sites. These individuals play a critical role in ensuring that construction employers are following state and federal safety guidelines and being proactive when it comes to construction work site safety.
As of 2014, there were only 1,105 site safety inspectors in all of New York City, the numbers of which have dwindled in recent years as many inspectors retire or move into higher-paying positions. Many workplace safety advocates believe that the spike in construction injuries and deaths is directly linked to the apparent shortage of site safety managers.
Source: New York Daily News, “EXCLUSIVE: As NYC’s building boom takes off, number of site-safety inspectors drop – and construction fatalities spike,” Greg B. Smith, Oct. 18, 2015