By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — Construction-related accidents have been cut in half so far this year despite several recent tragedies, the Department of Buildings says.
According to new numbers out Monday, there were 18 accidents in the first three months of 2011, versus 41 during the same period last year — a 56 percent decline.
Nonetheless, there have already been three fatal accidents this year, versus four in all of 2010.
In February, two iron workers died after falling 65 feet from a seventh-story beam down an elevator shaft at an Upper West Side construction site that is being renovated into a church and community center for the Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
The workers were not using safety harnesses at the time, officials said.
Last month, a construction worker was rushed to the hospital with head trauma and a severe leg injury after he fell 15 feet at the future site of CUNY's Advanced Science Research Center in Harlem.
The man had been wearing a safety harness, but it was not attached to a lifeline, the DOB said.
According to the department, 16 workers have been killed due to falls since 2008.
"Construction safety has improved on job sites throughout the city, but we must do more to protect all New Yorkers," said Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, who credited the decline in injuries to new laws, stricter enforcement and increased outreach.
The numbers were released as part of the department's Construction Safety Week, which will feature a new safety campaign called "Experience is Not Enough" to encourage on-site safety.
In honor of the kick-off, the Empire State Building will be lit in orange and white Monday night.