NY City to Quadruple Fines for Construction Accidents

NEW YORK, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans for a sweeping new construction enforcement effort, on the heels of a fatal crane collapse earlier this month.

The city will quadruple fines for serious safety lapses and undertake “proactive” safety investigations at 1,500 construction sites, along with other measures, according to a news release.

Fines for serious violations will rise to $10,000 from their current $2,400 level. Fines for sites without construction superintendents will rise to a maximum of $25,000 from $5,000.

The new rules come amidst a significant rise in accidents in recent years, as construction in the city has accelerated. Construction has more than tripled since 2009, with 88 million square feet built in 2015.

Accidents have doubled over the same period, hitting a total of 433 citywide in 2015. (Increases in accidents generally lag increases in new construction.)

In addition to the sweeps and fines, the city plans to hire 100 new inspectors, and mandate superintendents for all projects under 10 stories, strengthening the current rules that only require superintendents at new developments.

Nearly three-quarters of construction accidents occurred at such sites last year.

A crane collapsed on Worth Street in Tribeca earlier this month, killing David Wichs, a Harvard-trained mathematician.