New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a raft of new measures designed to improve worker safety on construction sites.
Steps include creating a new inspection team at the Buildings Department, improving regulations and training, and sharply increasing penalties for violations. The measures follow the recommendations of a taskforce formed in November after the death of construction worker Ramiro Jara, who fell 15 floors from a building near Union Square.
Around $4 million will be set aside to create a unit at the Buildings Department to improve safety on scaffolding suspended from the top of buildings. Ten new inspectors will be hired to conduct sweeps and enforce safety regulations, including making sure workers wear harnesses when working on scaffolds.
An additional $2 million will pay for enhanced training and outreach for contractors and laborers in a variety of languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Russian and Urdu.
Officials have also submitted legislation to the city council that would require advance notification of the use of a scaffold suspended by a C-hook - a suspension mechanism commonly associated with accidents when used incorrectly.