When: Thursday June 12, Noon
Where: City Hall steps
Why: To encourage the Mayor to incorporate community concerns in construction safety
In light of the Deutsche Bank building disaster and the two recent high-profile crane accidents, community activists and elected officials are coming together to demand reforms at the Department of Buildings. Mayor Bloomberg's recent proposals are a step in the right direction , but now he has to work with community groups that have been advocating for DOB reform for years. Construction deaths are not limited to cranes, so it is important to address the bigger issues, and not just react to the news of the week.
Dismayed at the steady stream of construction deaths and other accidents, dozens of community groups have been advocating for better enforcement of existing laws for years. The most pressing reforms include:
* Reinspect hazardous Stop Work Order sites. Currently, the DOB does not return to a construction site after every hazardous violation. Some offenders simply pay a fine, and the DOB does not check if the violation has been cured.
* End Self-Certification (a.k.a. "Professional Certification"). The crane disasters were not isolated events—they represent bigger problems with oversight of the construction industry. The Mayor needs to stand for safety all around New York, not just at high rise crane sites.
* Work with the community. After the most recent disaster, Bloomberg held a closed door meeting with construction industry insiders. The Mayor missed an opportunity to harness the expertise of community groups.
We cannot live in a city where everyone is afraid of every crane, bulldozer and jackhammer. This fear sometimes gets translated into a flood of 311 calls, but the City did not heed the warnings, with deadly results. Community groups can help sort out these complaints.