By Rebecca Henely
Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited an apartment complex under construction in Long Island City Monday to announce what he called a step in the right direction: an 18 percent drop in construction accidents citywide from 2010-11.
“This is good for the agency. This is good for the public,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said there were 152 accidents in 2011 compared to 165 accidents in 2010, even though the city issued 7.7 percent more permits for construction in 2011.
But the news was not all good. There were five construction-related deaths in 2011 compared to four in 2010.
“Five is five too many, but it is a 73 percent decrease compared to 2008,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s office attributed the success to a series of reforms the department implemented in recent years. These include a revising of the city’s construction codes in 2009, creating a unit to inspect stalled construction sites, launching a campaign focused on preventing falls on construction sites and implementing more than 25 new construction safety laws.
Some of these laws include required training for tower crane workers, uniform color-coding and disallowing smoking on site.
“There’s nothing more important than keeping our citizens safe,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), who along with other Queens elected officials joined Bloomberg at a new apartment complex being built on Center Boulevard north of 47th Avenue.
City Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said the administration has been working toward making it easier to build in New York City while also doing it safely.
“It’s been an honor to be on your team,” LiMandri said to Bloomberg.
State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), who chairs the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, said he was impressed with the progress the city has made.
“A safe workplace is not a privilege but a right,” Lancman said.
Trade association leaders also applauded the announcement.
Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the construction industry is worth $28 billion and provides 125,000 jobs.
“The city continues to support this critical industry while keeping our workers and the public safe,” he said.
Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employer’s Association, said the only industry that kills and injures more people is mining.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said he would like to see more buildings and safer buildings in the city.
“You can see cranes going up all around Long Island City,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.