DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251, KhanSho@ddc.nyc.gov
(Long Island City, NY – January 28, 2020) More than 60 construction professionals came together at the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) Long Island City headquarters today for the agency’s 2020 Safety Summit. Hosted by DDC’s Division of Safety & Site Support Office of Construction Safety and Office of Quality Assurance, the annual Summit brings together contractors and construction management firms that have worked on DDC projects to develop and review preventive measures to continuously improve safety at DDC work sites.
“DDC continues to make changes to the already strict safety procedures in place to ensure that the health of the public, contractors and employees are handled with the greatest level of care,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “Events like today’s Safety Summit allow us to join with contractors to share the latest advances in safety, which can then be implemented across the agency.”
DDC requires that a Site Safety Plan (SSP) with detailed instructions for protecting both the public and workers be filed and accepted by the agency before any project begins construction. In August 2019, a SSP web-based application for Plan submittals was launched to help streamline and expedite the review and acceptance process. Following the launch, review time for safety plans Infrastructure projects dropped from an average of 124 days to five days and for Public Buildings projects the review time went from 44 days to 25 days.
“Four years after having the first Safety Summit, we can clearly see the benefits of recent safety process improvements. Everyone, contractors and DDC, is dedicated to implementing the changes necessary to make worksites as safe as possible,” said DDC Executive Director for Safety & Site Support Alla Ayzenshtat. “DDC takes a balanced approach to address workplace safety and in the last year, we’ve reduced the number of unresolved high-risk deviations on worksites to single digits.”
“The Safety Summit allows contractors and construction management firms to come together so they can receive DDC’s safety performance data and measures then can be taken to improve conditions at work sites,” said DDC Director for Safety & Site Support Office of Construction Safety Carlos Ortiz. “The quality assurance aspect of today’s Summit discussed the impact that construction materials including pipes, valves, hydrants and castings can have on the project’s anticipated date of completion and potential safety implications.”
From Fiscal Year 2018 to Fiscal Year 2019, the number of accidents and incidents involving individuals “struck by object” at DDC construction sites declined by 15 percent; slips and trips declined by 43 percent; and persons injured by tools and equipment declined by 50 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 pride ourselves on the pre-planning process that is done prior to the start of a project, we address the job hazard analysis, which includes the tasks, hazards and controls in advance of the work and make sure that personnel has received the required training,” said Tom Miller, Safety Manager for Triumph Construction. “Since May 2018, our Field Safety Coordinators have been conducting daily audits through the Heavy Construction Software Solutions. We’ve seen great progress with this program and it also provides management and safety the opportunity to review the workflow in real-time. The program allows us to keep track of plenty of information that may be needed in case a situation happens in the future.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to work in many international cities and there is nothing quite like New York City, each agency has different regulations that must be followed,” said David Korman, Vice President of Safety for Gramercy Group, Inc. “We like to measure indicators that can be controlled and we also get our employees involved with identifying unsafe conditions. We use Heavy Construction Software Solutions to track how long it takes for site conditions to be fixed so we can make changes to our procedures based on data.”