For Immediate Release
May 4, 2016


New York, NY – Today, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler kicked off the Department’s 2016 Build Safe | Live Safe Conference a daylong event attended by more than 300 construction professionals and government regulators. Attendees learned about the latest accident trends and best practices for improving safety. At the conference, Commissioner Chandler discussed recently-implemented reforms and initiatives to reduce accidents on job sites.

This week, DOB staff will distribute thousands of educational flyers at hundreds of construction sites across the City as part of its annual, multi-lingual Experience is Not Enough campaign. The flyers (available in English, Spanish, or Chinese) offer workers simple steps to stay safe on job sites. To highlight the effort, Commissioner Chandler visited Hudson Yards on Monday and met with workers to discuss ways to prevent falls, primarily through the use of harnesses and tie-lines when working above ground level.

“Our highest priority is to promote safe worksites and protect the public, a responsibility we take very seriously,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “There are inherent risks in construction work, but most accidents are completely preventable. Construction Safety Week helps amplify the work we do every day to educate and reinforce to industry members the importance of employing best safety practices to protect workers and the public. No building is worth a life, and that is a belief that that every person in the development industry should keep in mind whenever they step onto a construction site.”

In February, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Chandler announced an aggressive campaign to combat unsafe behavior on construction sites through increased penalties, oversight, and discipline for repeat offenders. DOB is:

  • Quadrupling fines for failing to maintain safe worksites – these violations will now cost $10,000;
  • Requiring an independent Construction Safety Superintendent for all major construction at sites under 10 stories, where the majority of accidents occurred last year. Superintendents must be on site at least once a day and keep a detailed log of safety conditions. This change will result in 2,300 additional safety professionals on jobsites citywide; and
  • Sweeping more than 1,000 jobsites of known problem contractors, and sweeping more than 500 high-rise sites for safety compliance.

At the 2016 Build Safe/Live Safe Conference, Department experts held seminars on safe construction practices, many of which counted toward continuing education credits for licensed industry professionals. More than a dozen informational booths provided information on ongoing initiatives designed to make the construction process as efficient as possible for all New Yorkers – including the latest on the Department’s technological advances, such as DOB’s new system that allows the public to schedule inspections online and view results in real time. DOB also presented a seminar focused on preventing tenant harassment by ensuring a Tenant Protection Plan is filed and publicly available for work in occupied buildings. The titles of the seven seminars were:

  • Protection of Existing Buildings During Construction;
  • Common Safety Violations in Excavation, Superstructure and Scaffolding Work;
  • Concrete and Formwork in New York City;
  • Safety Considerations for Renewable Energy Systems;
  • Planning for Safety: Common Errors and Omissions in Site Safety, Excavation, and Demolition Plan Submissions;
  • Facades and Retaining Walls: Laws, Rules and Filing Protocols; and
  • Crane, Hoist, and Elevator Safety.
On-site outreach through DOB’s Experience Is Not Enough campaign began in 2011. The multilingual citywide campaign emphasizes the importance of safe construction practices, including proper fall protection, such as safety harnesses, guardrails and netting. Since the campaign’s launch, more 30,000 posters, banners and bracelets have been distributed to construction sites throughout the City.

Contact: Alexander Schnell (212) 393-2126
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