New York City to Hire More Buildings Inspectors

May 20, 2008

Under fire for a spate of construction accidents, the city will spend $5.3 million to hire 63 more safety inspectors, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday.

“The Buildings Department has a critical responsibility to protect the public from construction hazards and to protect the lives and guard the safety of the city’s more than 125,000 construction workers,” Bloomberg said.

“Today, we are furthering this mission by investing resources in making sure that the city’s diverse and talented construction industry takes responsibility for worker and public safety at construction sites throughout the five boroughs from high-rise construction to single-family homes.”

The new hires will bring the total number of buildings inspectors to 461, up from 277 in 2002.

Thirteen people have died in construction accidents in the city this year, one more than last year’s total.

In the worst accident, a construction crane toppled on Manhattan’s East Side on March 15, killing six workers and a woman who was visiting New York for St. Patrick’s Day.

Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, who took over after Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resigned under pressure last month, said, “Today’s investment puts more inspectors on the ground to conduct more surprise inspections and substantially increases the incentive for developers and contractors to comply with safety regulations.”

Just Saturday, the city stopped construction on an office tower near ground zero after a chunk of steel fell 18 stories onto a ballfield where dozens of children were playing.

No one was hurt in the accident shortly after 3 p.m. at the future Goldman Sachs headquarters. Builder Tishman Construction Corp. was cited with five violations.

The field, which is immediately north of the World Trade Center construction site, was reopened for scheduled Little League games on Sunday.

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