Building a Safer Future
Dive into the heart of NYC construction safety. Through thorough analysis of accident reports from the Department of Building database we will unravel the who, where, when, and why behind injuries and fatalities in the ultimate goal to inspire construction reform.
Together, let's "Build a Safer Future" for workers and the public alike.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the construction industry makes up 5% of NYC total workforce, though it account for 27% of work-related deaths, making it the most dangerous job in NYC with the highest fatality rates.
For safety professionals, it is important to understand the methods of hazard control on construction sites.
Elimination: Physically removing a hazard
Substitution: Replacing the hazard with alternative
Engineering: Inventing/ designing a method to mitigate or remove hazard
Administrative: Changing the way people work
PPE: Using personal protective equipment
Name: DOB Construction Related Accident Reports (Local Law 78)
Time Period: January 2019 – September 2023
- Incident Dates and Times
- NYC Boroughs
- Site Union Information
- Employment Dates
- Worker vs. Pedestrian Incidents
- Injury and Fatality Counts
Disclaimer: For unknown reasons, September and December 2020 figures were not submitted.
1. Have the Injured/Fatal incidents been increasing or decreasing throughout the years?
Injuries among construction workers and pedestrians have gradually been increasing.
2. Which months had the most injured?
June, July, August (Summer Months) and November. It's possible that summer heat adds an additional layer of hazard and added pressure to complete projects before end of year holidays that introduces pressure for workers to speed up production.
3. In what time of the day do most incidents occur?
11AM - 1PM during a worker's day shift of 7AM - 3PM
4. Which of the NYC boroughs had most injured?
Manhattan during years 2019-2022 and Brooklyn in 2023
5a. Do non-union workers get injured more than union members? (by Year)
During 2022-2023, non-union were injured most. During 2019-2021 open shop were injured most.
In 2019-2023, injuries for non-union workers decreased.
5b. Do non-union workers get injured more than union members? (by Borough)
Manhattan has the most open shop and union injured from the rest of the boroughs. Brooklyn has the most non-union injured.
6. Do more experienced workers get injured less?
Yes, in fact, most incidents occur in the first 30 days of employment.
Summary (Major Takeaways)
- Construction affects both workers and pedestrians in NYC, with incidents increasing annually.
- Most incidents commonly occur during the summer months and November during the day shift from 11AM to 1PM.
- Most affected boroughs of construction incidents are Manhattan and Brooklyn, with Brooklyn
significantly increasing in injured over the last 5 years.
- Open Shop and Union sites have more incidents in Manhattan, while Brooklyn has more Non-Union incidents.
- Most incidents occur within the first 30 days of employment.
Reforming Definition of "Successful" Work Ethic
A successful project or a successful company should be defined by their ability to protect workers from a dangerous industry, instead of their ability to build fast. An work ethic built on humanity over profit.
Behavioral-Based Safety Field Teams
Field workers with leadership training on how to engage, communicate and build positive professional relationships with colleagues and field workers. Encourage conversations and open discussions with workers on safety and explaining the "why" certain protocols are in place, instead of the usual authoritarian approach. Promote a safe work space, free of retaliation so that a worker can feel free to communicate and grow a better understanding on what it means to work safe.
Safety-Prioritized Construction Schedules
When creating construction schedules, brainstorm and pre-plan ways to engineer hazards out of the workplace even if it may take longer to complete a project.
Implement a 3-month instructional period directly following employment, where the initial 4 hours of a 8-hour work shift is a lesson s on best safety practices with specialized focus on the trade and the other 4 hours is a work shift under direct supervision of experienced tradesman. Given that most incidents occur in the first 3 months of employment, this instructional period will decrease a new-hires' time in the field, which can significantly decrease incident rates, while also making them more safety-conscious as a result of the lessons.
Though the data I utilized was useful, there are more attributes that are being collected that were not found in this specific Department of Buildings dataset. For example, it may omit the nature of an incident that would describe the circumstances or characteristics of an event or occurrence or the body part that was a affected on the injured individuals. With more data, there is a brighter future in predictive analytics to be used to stay proactive in keeping a workplace safe.
Incidents that occur in construction are a multifaceted problem, where safety is but one perspective that can be used to explain and help solve. I would want to expand on this problem, through multiple different lenses, such as production and operations, and see how one affects the other to further grasp a better understanding of why incidents occur.