Brooklyn tops cities for construction site violations in 2021: Report • Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn has surpassed the city’s other four boroughs in construction site safety violations two years in a row, which has coincided with a large number of worker fatalities on the job, according to a new report from the Department of Buildings. from the city.

City inspectors committed 26,255 safety violations at Brooklyn construction sites in 2021, more than 7,000 more than those issued in second-place Manhattan last year, according to the second annual report on DOB Construction Safety, published March 28. Kings County also saw by far the most stop work orders with 4,061, significantly more than the 2,562 issued in Manhattan and 2,460 in Queens.

Brooklyn also topped both rankings in 2020, with 23,916 violations and 4,787 stop work orders issued the previous year.

The number of safety violations issued by inspectors increased in all five boroughs from 2020 to 2021, while the number of work stoppages decreased simultaneously in each borough. The number of violations in Brooklyn increased by just under 10%, while stop work orders fell by about 15%.

Nine construction workers across the city lost their lives on the job last year, including three in Brooklyn, tied with Manhattan for most of all boroughs, although the death toll in Kings County is down compared to the five recorded in 2020.

All three deaths in Brooklyn resulted from falls, the report notes. A worker died April 23, 2021 after falling 10 feet to the ground from a catwalk made of wooden planks at an apartment building facade repair site at 1200 East 53rd Street in Flatlands. A month later, on May 27, a 49-year-old construction worker from the Bronx died when he fell 60 feet while working on the demolition of the Flatbush Savings Bank. Later, in November, a worker performing asbestos removal work at 289 Third Ave. at Gowanus fell through a gap over a foot wide between the building and the supporting scaffolding.

On-site deaths and injuries both rose slightly last year from the previous year across the city, from eight to nine fatalities and 502 to 505 injuries, although both measures were down in Brooklyn . The figures have nevertheless followed a downward trend in recent years in the five boroughs, going from 759 injured in 2018 to 505 last year, and from 13 deaths in 2018 to nine in 2021.

The report attributes the year-on-year increase in injuries and fatalities to the halt in construction work during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and the longer-term decline in updates to the building code and new legislation tightening licensing requirements.

“Construction remains a fundamental industry in our growing city, and we owe it to our fellow New Yorkers to continue to push for safer building sites for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” the acting commissioner of the city said. DOB, Gus Sirakis, in a statement. “For the second year in a row, we are publishing a comprehensive building construction safety report, to better track incidents and understand why they are happening. Analyzing data like this is an essential part of our strategy to help our industrial partners properly protect their jobsites.

Earlier this year, on February 11, a construction worker died at a construction site in Brooklyn Heights. Community members rallied around the family of victim Angel Pilataxi, raising more than $10,000 for funeral costs on GoFundMe in partnership with the Worker Justice Project.

Hildalyn Colón Hernández, director of policy and strategic partnerships at WJP, says many incidents and injuries go unreported because workers fear retaliation for coming forward.

“WJP continues to see a large number of construction workers who have suffered losses on their job sites,” Colón Hernández told the Brooklyn Paper. “For fear of reprisals or simply losing their jobs and income, they prefer to follow the orders of their employers and not report these accidents to the authorities.”

While the DOB attributes the drop in workplace fatalities to new legislation and code updates, Colón Hernández says the drop is also due in part to the thousands of health and safety trainings the WJP has conducted with construction workers in recent years.

Alice F. Ponder