NYC Implements Key Scaffold Safety Recommendations

While delivering a progress report addressing New York City’s strategic plan to protect workers on scaffolds, Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster announced that the majority of the plan’s safety recommendations have been implemented, leading the way to safer work environments for scaffold employees.

The plan, adopted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in early 2007, outlines measures based upon 13 recommendations made by the Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force. The Buildings Department, OSHA and the mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs have worked together since May 2007 to implement 12 of those recommendations, including:

  • Creating and fully staffing a Buildings Scaffold Safety Team;
  • Conducting Buildings and OSHA joint inspections;
  • Conducting cross training for Buildings inspectors and OSHA compliance officers;
  • Enacting information sharing between OSHA and Buildings, formalized with an alliance and regular meetings; and
  • Increasing legislation and adding new penalties for scaffold safety violations.

Lancaster delivered the progress report at a January outreach event at a Bronx worker center and was joined by representatives from OSHA, the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Latin American Workers’ Project. She stressed that their focus on scaffold safety already has started to pay off.

“Suspended scaffold-related accidents on construction sites decreased by 40 percent over the last year, from 10 in 2006 to six in 2007,” Lancaster said. “With the proper protocols in place, we can demand that contractors and riggers provide a safe working environment for those who are building and maintaining our city.”

OSHA’s Manhattan Area Director Richard Mendelson added that OSHA remains committed to helping shape safer work environments for scaffold employees.

“The progress to date demonstrates OSHA's firm commitment to scaffold worker safety, and we will continue our cooperation with the Buildings Department and other agencies involved in the Task Force to achieve that end,” he said.

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