LOWER EAST SIDE — The city will kickoff a “massive inspection blitz” of 1,500 construction sites over the next 90 days and institute new rules to protect construction workers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday in front of an East Village townhouse where a worker fell to his death on Christmas Eve.
The worker, 33-year-old Luis Alberto Pomboza, was working on the renovation of 356 East 8th St. when he fell from the third to first floor, according to records from the Department of Buildings.
Pomboza — an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant and father of five — was transported to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition with trauma to the head and face but later died of his injuries, according to the NYPD and Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the changes announced by de Blasio Friday, the city will inspect 1,500 construction sites of some buildings 10 stories or less and all buildings higher than 15 stories.
The Department of Buildings will hire 100 new inspectors and fines for failing to protect construction workers will quadruple to $10,000 per incident from $2,400.
All sites under 10 stories will now be required to hire a construction superintendent. De Blasio credited Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, chair of the committee on housing and buildings, with the idea.
Penalties for failing to employ a construction superintendent will start at $25,000.
De Blasio said according to the plans on file with the DOB, a construction superintendent was to be present at Pomboza's site but there was none.
"Had these rules been in effect, there would have been a construction superintendent at this site required to inspect all work areas at least once a day, every single day," de Blasio said. "Had that rule been in effect, perhaps Luis Alberto would be with us today."
The changes come after a fatal crane collapse in TriBeCa one week ago that killed David Wichs, 38.
Construction in the city has jumped 329 percent to 88 million square feet of new construction from 21 million square feet since 2009. Construction accidents have also jumped 98 percent in that time, said de Blasio, to 433 accidents last year from 218 in 2009. Construction accidents jumped almost 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.
The mayor added that 70 percent of the construction accidents that occurred in 2015 were at buildings with 10 stories or less.
There were 11 deaths at construction sites around the city in 2015. That's up from eight deaths in 2014.
"We're here at a site where a tragedy occurred. And we wanted to be at a site like this to make a point that the fact we will not tolerate unsafe construction conditions," de Blasio said. "We won't tolerate anyone putting profit ahead of the lives of their workers and of the people who live in our community."
DOB subsequently issued a stop work order and a full vacate order the same day at Pomboza's East 8th Street site. Ten different violations were uncovered at the worksite, including “failure to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations.”
Work permits indicate plans to add an additional two floors to the four-story townhouse, which was built in 1899. De Blasio said Pomboza was taking down a wall when he fell three stories, causing a "decent man to lose his life."