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Lack of Regulation on Shorter Buildings Puts NYC Construction Workers at Risk

In New York City, more than 75 percent of construction workers who died in accidents on construction sites from 2010 to 2015 were killed when they were working on a construction project involving a building that was 10 stories or less in height. The total number of people were killed while working on constructing buildings under 10 stories for this time period was 1,446.

When any type of construction accident or incident happened, from a minor fall to a fatal injury, there was a 51 percent greater chance that a safety violation would be found on a construction site that was 10 stories or under, compared with a construction site for a taller building.

Why is there such a difference when it comes to fatalities and safety issues when a construction project involves a building that is 10 stories or less versus a taller building? Commercial Observer has the answer to this important question.

Why is it So Much More Dangerous to Work on Shorter Buildings in New York? 

According to Commercial Observer, injuries are much more likely to happen on construction sites for shorter buildings due to the fact that the regulations are quite different.

When a building is greater than 10 stories high, it is considered a major building. If a building is 10 stories or less, it is considered a minor building.

Whenever a major building is being constructed, New York City law requires a designated site safety coordinator or site safety manager must be assigned to ensure the construction site is safe. The site safety manager has to be a professional contractor who has been licensed through the Department of Buildings and whose sole purpose is overseeing safety.

In addition to having a designated person whose sole job it is to manage safety, workers on most major buildings also have to undergo 10 hours of training by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and a safety plan has to be put into place.

None of these things are typically required on a minor building. When a minor building is being constructed, a superintendent has to be in charge of safety issues. However, the superintendent does not have to be dedicated to monitoring safety concerns only, like a site safety manager does.

Superintendents usually work on lots of different things, including keeping a project on schedule and dealing with vendors. They may not have the time to fully monitor all safety issues, or their safety monitoring obligations could end up conflicting with other duties or priorities they have.

The absence of strong safety regulations is putting construction workers at risk. Better laws are needed for shorter buildings in New York City so fewer accident and fatalities could happen on these construction locations.

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