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Despite increased enforcement actions, major safety lapses at construction sites are common

We've previously detailed information about numerous construction-related accidents throughout New York City which illustrate the inherent and daily dangers that individuals who work at construction sites face. As evidence of these grave dangers, during 2015 alone, a total of 17 workers lost their lives at construction sites throughout the city.

Too often, serious and fatal construction accidents result when construction companies, contractors, inspectors and engineers fail to follow safety protocols. In an effort to crackdown on unsafe practices within the construction industry, back in February, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed that the Department of Buildings would ramp up both inspection and enforcement actions.

For example, fines related to "serious safety lapses" discovered at construction sites increased from $2,400 to $10,000. Additionally, because 70 percent of the city's construction accidents occur at sites involving buildings that are 10 stories or less, de Blasio enacted a measure requiring that construction superintendents be on hand at such sites to oversee "all major work."

While safety advocates largely support the mayor's efforts to institute these and other new safety measures, enforcement actions against 59 construction professionals prove that several key players within the industry continue to put profits before safety.

Two of the most recent such disciplinary actions involved two construction engineers who "signed off on unsafe blueprints" and "submitted falsified plans to the Department of Buildings." In both cases, the engineers endangered the safety and lives of construction workers as well as members of the general public when they approved plans and filed paperwork, often without even reviewing the documents or inspecting a work site.

Safety regulations that govern New York City's construction industry exist for a reason and individuals within the construction industry who fail to abide by or who ignore safety protocols should be held accountable.

Source: Crain's New York Business, "Two engineers banned by the city Buildings Department: They falsified documents and signed off on unsafe projects," Joe Anuta, April 26, 2016

Crain's New York Business, "City quadruples fines for serious construction violations following fatal crane collapse," Joe Anuta, Feb. 12, 2016

New York Daily News, "Hundreds of construction workers attend Workers' Memorial Day ceremony to honor 17 workers killed at New York construction sites in 2015," Ryan Sit, Ginger Adams Otis, April 29, 2016