The New York City Department of Buildings released its second annual Construction Safety report last week. Among other things, the DOB revealed that building construction-related incidents fell for the third year in a row in 2021; at the same time, construction-related injuries and fatalities slightly increased.
As the report explains, building construction-related incidents fell 10% in 2021 compared to 2020, and over 40% compared in 2018. Going year by year, the DOB shows that in 2018, there were 1,193 incidents, 759 injuries, and 13 fatalities; in 2019, there were 960 incidents, 594 injuries, and 14 fatalities; in 2020, there were 796 incidents, 502 injuries, and 8 fatalities; and in 2021, there were 712 incidents, 505 injuries, and 9 fatalities.
An analysis by Construction Dive notes that the DOB attributed the steady decline in incidents to new regulations, like mandatory training for construction workers on “larger” job sites, as well as a ramp-up of site inspections last year. The majority of injuries and deaths in 2021 were caused by falls, which were responsible for 205 of the year’s 712 incidents and seven of its nine deaths.
In a statement about the report, DOB Acting Commissioner Constadino Sirakis said: “Construction remains a bedrock industry in our growing city, and we owe it to our fellow New Yorkers to continue to push for safer work sites for the benefit of all New Yorkers. For the second year in a row, we are publishing a comprehensive report on building construction safety, so we can better track incidents and understand why they occur. Data analysis like this is a critical part of our strategy to help our industry partners properly safeguard their work sites.”
“Our construction workers build our city from the ground and are essential in our City’s development,” said Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the NYC Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. “While construction safety has improved over the past years following important regulatory changes and stronger enforcement, there is much more to be done because the loss of even one life is one too many. This report gives us critical data needed to determine where our city makes improvements and drastically reduce injuries and reach zero fatalities. I look forward to working with the Department of Buildings to strengthen our codes and enforcement to continue to surpass our current standards for construction safety regulations.”