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City Council calls for improvement in tracking of unsafe construction contractors

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Working a construction job in New York City is not for the faint of heart. On a daily basis, construction workers throughout the city’s five boroughs must scale scaffolding, work atop half-constructed high rise buildings and climb into deep trenches. The inherent dangers associated with construction work are numerous and severe and too often result in the serious injuries and tragic deaths of workers.

During 2014, a total of eight New York City construction workers were killed on the job. Not even half-way through 2015, and the number of construction worker fatalities stands at six. Concerns about construction site safety and particularly the questionable work being completed by certain contractors, has angered many City Council members who have called upon officials at the Department of Buildings to do more.

During the course of one year, from 2013 to 2014, the number of building permits issued by the Department of Buildings increased by 10 percent. Meanwhile, during this same timeframe, the number of construction accidents increased by nearly one-quarter. Some Council members blamed the significant increase in construction accidents and resulting injuries and deaths on contractors who violate safety regulations and put workers at a greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Several Council members are calling for better tracking and more restrictions for contractors that have histories of safety violations. From a construction worker who falls several stories while working in a high-rise building to a worker who is crushed when a crane topples over at a construction worksite, many serious and fatal construction accidents likely could have been prevented.

Source: New York Daily News, “City Council wants to track bad building contractors to stop construction accidents,” Greg B. Smith, May 11, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.