As the pace of construction in New York City increases and construction projects get bigger and more complex, the number of construction injuries and deaths have also increased. In response to this increase, Council Members have introduced a package of legislation, the Construction Safety Act, aimed at making construction sites safer for everyone, including workers and the public. Today, the Council will be voting on a package of legislation that is part of the larger Construction Safety Act.
Establishing Construction Safety Training Requirements and Programming
Introduction 1447-C, sponsored by Council Members Jumaane Williams and Carlos Menchaca, would implement the following measures to work toward increasing construction site safety in New York City:
- Establishes site safety training requirements for workers at most construction sites.
- Requires workers to undergo between 40-55 hours of safety training. These hours will be specified by the Department of Buildings (DOB) and will be phased in over time.
- Allows workers to fulfill their training requirement by completing an alternative training program, such as an apprenticeship program, but only if DOB determines that that program is equivalent to, or more extensive than, the standard safety training requirements.
The bill would also include provisions to aid laborers in receiving sufficient site training:
- The bill allows laborers to continue working while they complete training. After completing 10 hours of initial training, workers will be eligible for temporary cards that will authorize them to work on construction sites while they complete the rest of the required training.
- The Department of Small Business Services will also develop a program to help ensure that all workers have equal access to training resources, particularly workers who may have a harder time having the costs of training covered by their employers – for example, day laborers and workers employed by small MWBE contractors.
Based on ongoing discussions with the Administration, the development of such a program would assist thousands of workers comprised of day laborers, employees of small businesses, and other individuals during the first year of the program, at an estimated cost of $1,000 per person, or about $4 million in FY 2018. An additional $1 million would be reserved to cover administrative costs of the program.
Introduction 1446-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require hoisting machine operators to obtain a special “rating” in order to operate particularly large cranes. The licensing rating would be obtained through satisfactory demonstration by operation, practical examination, or completion of simulator training specific to the make and model of the crane.
Introduction 1448-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require that certain buildings under ten stories, excluding 1-, 2- and 3-family buildings, retain a construction superintendent, who, among other things, is responsible for maintaining a safe job site. Further, it would require that such buildings create a site safety plan and keep such plan on site.