With construction accidents on the rise, the City Council Monday pressed the Buildings Department to aggressively pursue "bad actor" contractors.
“People who are doing bad things are not being stopped,” Housing & Building Committee Chairman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said. “We want to make sure we’re doing a lot more of connecting the dots.”
From 2013 to last year, the number of building permits rose 10% while the number of accidents jumped by 24%, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said at a housing committee hearing.
That’s an 80% rise from the 128 accidents in 2011, and there are indications it may get worse this year.
To date there have been six fatalities, including worker Christian Ginesi falling down an elevator shaft last week. At that pace, the city will exceed 2014's eight fatalities.
At the hearing, Chandler blamed the spike on better reporting and a rising number of big projects: “The larger the project, the more inherent the risk.”
But council members took issue with his agency’s ability to track repeat offender contractors who constantly cut corners and endanger workers.
The city Housing & Preservation Department, for instance, puts contractors with spotty records on an “enhanced review” list to build taxpayer-subsidized affordable units.
Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) said she was “surprised” Chandler seemed unaware of that list.