NYC’s 2022 construction fatalities highest in 3 years

Dive Brief:

  • The New York City construction industry had 11 fatalities in 2022, the most since 2019, while recorded injuries also rose to 554 last year after plateauing in 2020 and 2021, according to the New York City Department of Buildings.
  • Worker falls continued to be the largest cause of injury and death among construction workers in the city, according to the report. Falls injured nearly 200 and killed nine workers in 2022.
  • While the number of fatalities was the highest in three years, NYC DOB also noted there was an uptick in construction activity. In the last seven years, the number of overall incidents has actually trended down, it said.

Dive Insight:

Brooklyn led the boroughs in number of fatalities with six, though it also had the highest number of new building permits issued. Manhattan led all boroughs in injuries with 255.

NYC’s injuries, incidents, fatalities all increase in 2022
Year Incidents Injuries Fatalaties
2015 1,011 472 12
2016 1,162 603 12
2017 1,212 671 12
2018 1,193 759 13
2019 960 594 14
2020 796 502 8
2021 712 505 9
2022 751 554 11

SOURCE: New York City Department of Buildings

As part of the report, the DOB highlighted the major injuries, but also near misses. For example, on Jan. 14, 2022, a worker in Queens fell from the second floor of a 15-story project. They were wearing a properly tied-off harness, and as a result, didn’t hit the ground. The fall prevention system successfully prevented serious injury or death, according to the NYC DOB.

Changes in the Big Apple

The DOB issued fewer stop work orders in 2022, which the agency said could be attributed to the implementation of initiatives that put more focus on education. The DOB for the first time issued guidance on the specific reasons why a stop work order might be issued, so contractors could be proactive to prevent costly halts to work.

In July, the DOB cut in half the total number of jobsites that one superintendent could oversee at any one time from 10 to five. As a result, the DOB expects superintendents will be onsite more to catch unsafe conditions. The DOB will continue to reduce the number of sites superintendents can oversee to just one by Jan. 1, 2027.

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