After an uptick in dangerous construction site accidents, New York City is drastically increasing fines for serious workplace safety violations. Fines will jump from $2,400 to a much more consequential $10,000. The city hopes that raising these fines by more than four times will reduce or eliminate the economic incentive for contractors and property owners to ignore safety rules or cut corners.
This move, announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Buildings, comes after a series of major accidents, including the recent collapse of a 565-foot crane in Lower Manhattan. A man sitting in his car on the street was killed by the falling device, and three others in the area were injured.
The city saw about 356 construction site injuries in 2015, and many of them could have been prevented with proper oversight and a commitment by contractors to following safety procedures. Jobs in construction work are inherently extremely dangerous, with exposure to machinery, heights, electricity, fire and chemicals. Nationwide, 874 workers were killed in construction site accidents in 2014.
While there are rules and regulations in place to protect workers and ensure worksite safety, too many contractors choose to ignore these rules because they believe their violations will never be discovered. This belief may be well founded, as the Department of Buildings does not employ enough inspectors to properly monitor every building site in the city. To help combat the shortage, the city will add 100 work site inspectors to address the large and growing case load.
In addition to increasing fines for safety violations, the law requires a construction superintendent to be hired for certain projects where buildings are under 10 stories tall — and fines property owners who fail to do so a whopping $25,000 per violation.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working on a construction site, meet with a dedicated New York personal injury lawyer at Rubenstein & Rynecki. Call us at (718) 522-1020 or contact us online to get started.