Welcome to Building Trades Employers Association of New York’s (BTEA New York) monthly Safety Brief, your virtual briefcase of important safety news and updates. This digital publication contains highlights from BTEA New York’s Construction Safety Committee meetings with New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) representatives. 

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On December 21, 2022, BTEA New York's Construction Safety Committee virtually held its monthly safety meeting. Below are highlights from the agenda.



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New DOB Deputy Commissioner Joseph Esposito addressed the group and reinforced the Adams Administration's mandate to reach out to the industry and our customer base, work more transparently, and be more service oriented.

 

Esposito also reported that Mayor Adams' 90-Day Commission concluded its work, and its report is in the final stages. The Department is already implementing changes that are producing results. Since September, full stop-work orders have been down 60 percent, and the agency has decreased the wait time for rescinding SWOs to an average of 16 days from 54 days. Esposito reviews all SWOs before going into effect, and "asks a lot of questions." Juan Arias, newly named Deputy Commissioner of Construction Safety, was also introduced and briefly addressed the meeting.

November Incident Report

 

  • The month saw 55 construction-related incidents resulting in 54 injuries. There were two fatalities - one worker fell from a scaffold while installing netting, and a second fell at a sidewalk installation and was crushed by an improperly set beam. Both fatalities were preventable. Other injuries include 32 falls and 22 struck-bys.

 

November Stop Work Orders

 

  •  In November, DOB issued 202 SWOs, including 186 partial stop orders and only 163 full-stop orders. Rescinds totaled 495 (379 fulls and 167 partials). Re: service notices - the average time between reinspection requests and lifting SWOs was 2.4 days.  

 

Building Code Update

 

  • The new building code is in effect as of November 7. Major construction projects now require a full-time supervisor and a site safety coordinator/manager. Once the construction is in foundation, a safety coordinator is no longer required. 

 

DOB Promotions  (In addition to Juan Arias)

 

  • Lisa Amoia, R.A. will serve as Staten Island Deputy Borough Commissioner, moving from her Manhattan Deputy Borough Commissioner position.  


  • Jill Hrubecky, Associate Commissioner of Engineering Services.


  • Tarek Khalil, Assistant Commissioner of Central Inspections, will oversee the boilers, elevators, and plumbing enforcement unit. 


  • Frank McCarton, Assistant Commissioner for Emergency Services in the Bureau of Infrastructure. Previously, he oversaw the Emergency Response Team and Operations Center. 

 

A Reminder of Available Web Resources

 

Occupational Safety and

Health Administration (OSHA)

Heading into 2023, OSHA is moving forward with its management plan for compliance assistance programs and getting the word out to its membership. The group is encouraged to reach out to OSHA via email or through its local area offices with ideas and inquiries.

 

Starting in January, site supervisors can submit injury/illness logs electronically.

 

Please note: injury logs must be posted in the workplace by February 1, and the deadline for electronic submissions is the beginning of March. In early February, OSHA will run an info webinar to familiarize everyone with their electronic system. 

 

Fatalities in the construction industry are up for the calendar year 2022. It’s noteworthy that some of the fatalities counted in the transportation industry are construction-related (workers delivering materials, visiting job sites, etc.) The upward trend highlights the importance of safety practices and education on sites and on the road.

MTA Construction & Development

  •  In November, there were five incidents of lost time and three "recordables," reflecting a positive declining trend. Lost time incidents for 2022 are 29 percent lower than last year. Recordables are down 28 percent. For 2022, there were 303 incidents, including 56 lost time and 54 recordables.

 

Category breakdown for the year: 86 struck-bys; 70 slips, trips, and falls; 64 sprains and strains; 43 misc. medical issues (dust in eyes, etc.); 36 caught-in-betweens, and four electrical accidents. To date, there have been 12 incidents resulting in serious injuries, including five falls from ladders and scaffolds, four struck-bys, two saw lacerations and an electrical incident that resulted in two injuries.

 

  • Reminder: Many dynamic construction projects are underway across all sectors, from bridges and tunnels to throughout the NYC transit system. There are a lot of contractors out there bringing in large numbers of workers, with more coming over the winter months, emphasizing the importance of outreach, cold weather preparedness, and training to ensure safety. 

Guest Presentation: Slate Pages Co-Founder Brian Bannon on the Safe & Sound Lanyard Alarm System

  • The Lanyard Alarm is battery-powered, high-decibel sensor technology for mobile elevated platforms. The alarm sounds when the lanyard is not secured to an anchor point. The system addresses the "false sense of security" inherent in guardrails and platforms, contributing to preventable falls and fatalities. Every alarm is set with a QR code to complete and record harness inspections. For additional information, contact Brian Bannon at bbannon@slatepages.com or 203-410-3883. Specifications are available at https://harnessalarm.com/.

Communications & Events

Final note

For 2023, Gary LaBarbera, president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council has agreed to regular meetings with the labor-management team, at least 2-3 times a year, to come up with productive, mutually beneficial safety agendas. 

This report was provided by BTEA New York’s President and CEO, Louis J. Coletti.

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Building Trades Employers Association of New York is the construction contractor's unified advocate for construction safety standards, professional development, government affairs, public relations and fostering communication between public officials, public and private owners, labor and the general public. Realizing that a construction industry is essential to the vibrant future of New York City its activities are dedicated to a building environment meeting the highest of environmental standards, integrity, cost efficiency, productivity and value that contributes to improving the quality of life in New York City. BTEA represents 26 Construction Manager, General Contractor, Subcontractor and Specialty Trade contractor associations with over 1,200 individual contractor members.

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