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Construction & Design

Latest worker death prompts fresh safety call

A 43-year-old construction worker was killed in an accident at a Brooklyn hotel site last week.
The Department of Buildings immediately issued a stop work order for 61 Bond Street after Paul Kennedy, of the Bronx, was reportedly struck in the head when part of a pile drilling machine flew off.

The death immediately sparked a call from building trades for stricter enforcement of safety standards in a city where construction topped over $40 billion last year.

“Once again, we mourn the loss of life on a construction site in New York City,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

“Far too often, irresponsible developers hire contractors who don’t adhere to strict safety standards or employ highly skilled workers. The City of New York and real estate industry must make safety on construction sites a top priority and be vigilant before an accident occurs, not afterwards.

“If we are going to continue growing and building as a city, there needs to be greater accountability and strict enforcement of safety standards,”

According to Department of Building records, 61 Bond is the site of a new hotel being developed by a partnership led by New York-based GFI Hospitality.

Broadway Construction is the main contractor for the 13-story, 157,000 s/f hotel designed by Stonehill & Taylor Architects. According to sources, the site is non-union.

City records show inspectors visited the site in May and issued a violation for “slipping and trippingˮ hazards.

Last year, the BTEA announced an industry-wide Zero Tolerance plan to increase safety on construction sites with rules that apply to all workers, regardless of union status.

Coletti told a city council hearing, “Union builders are already taking important steps to ensure safety and we strongly believe those steps should be applied across the industry.”

Earlier this year, a survey by REBNY showed that, despite efforts to promote safety at developments on buildings of 10 or more stories, most accidents and fatalities over the last five years happened on smaller sites.

“The absence of dedicated safety personnel and stringent safety protocols in conjunction with the likelihood of less-experienced construction companies operating at smaller sites contribute, in part, to the rising trend of accidents and fatalities,ˮ said REBNY president John Banks.

Banks said the Board continues to work with partners in the construction industry to recommend “an agenda of common-sense best practices that will promote the safety of workers and the public.ˮ
Last year 11 people died on New York City construction sites, according to the City Council.

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