January 16, 2019
DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251, KhanSho@ddc.nyc.gov
Long Island City, NY – Nearly 60 construction professionals came together at DDC’s Long Island Cifty headquarters today for the agency’s 2019 Safety Summit. Hosted by the DDC’s Division of Safety & Site Support, the Summit brings together contractors and construction management firms that have worked on DDC projects for discussions focused on previous safety data to develop preventive measures to continuously improve safety at DDC project sites.
“DDC works in every neighborhood in the City, and follow strict procedures to ensure the safety of the public, our contractors and our employees alike,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “These types of events are important to make sure the latest advances in work site safety are shared and implemented across the agency.”
"The DDC Safety Summit is to primarily establish a partnership with our contractors to embody a safety culture and gain greater coordination and understanding of our Safety Expectations as we move forward. We want to share different issues encountered on our construction sites and use them as ‘lessons learned’ to avoid reoccurrence,” said DDC Assistant Commissioner for Safety & Site Support Jean M. Jean-Louis. “It’s a way for us to obtain feedback from contractors to improve safety performance and to ensure we are completing projects in a timely manner.”
“At these summits contractors, construction management and REI firms discuss how commitment and leadership at all levels can make a difference in the ongoing development of strong safety regulations at DDC construction project sites,” said DDC Director for Safety & Site Support Alla Ayzenshtat. “The Safety Summit allows DDC to share safety performance data, recognize achievements and focus on areas of improvement. The safety regulation updates and their applicability to DDC construction projects are the important part of the Safety Summit.”
From Fiscal Year 2019 to Fiscal Year 2018, the number of accidents and incidents involving individuals “struck by object” at DDC construction sites has declined by 31 percent; slips and trips have declined by 40 percent; and persons injured by tools and equipment has declined by 60 percent. Some of the leading causes of incidents and accidents are improper selection or use of tools/equipment, failure to protect utilities, poor site housekeeping leading to slips/falls, improper personal protective equipment (PPE), insufficient training and inadequate oversight.
“We put in a lot of effort in maintaining high levels of safety in collaboration with property owners and create our own regulations to enforce safety anyway we can. Our Time Out Card, created by C.A.C President Michael A. Capasso, authorizes all laborers to stop a project if a safety concern arises without getting reprimanded for making such calls. I don’t know of other companies with this policy,” said Michael Gurevich, Corporate Safety Manager for C.A.C Industries, Inc. “The Safety Summit is a great outlet for giving updates on new regulations to contractors and receiving feedback. I speak to our supervisors, project managers and executives at our weekly meetings to give them an overview of my safety observations and explain new regulations learned so we can continue to monitor the levels of safety we are providing for our workers and public.”
“The most important statement mentioned here today is, ‘Safety is a team effort.’ We want DDC to work with us to fix our mistakes, it shows us they care. When we find our employees doing something incorrectly, we take the time to explain why they are doing it wrong and see to it that they do it correctly. If retraining is necessary, then we do the retraining,” said Stephen Goodwin, Safety Director for DiFazio Industries. “There can’t be a budget on safety. I drive a safety supply truck to project sites and if a worker asks for supplies, I give it to them right there. They don’t have time to look around for a missing glove.”
“You can’t be sparing with basic safety equipment. You must give them an ample amount of supplies. It shows workers their safety is invaluable,” said William Gucker, Safety Manager for DiFazio Industries. “It’s more important to develop a safety culture and to transform the way people think about safety, it’s a whole new evolving culture that is here to stay.”