The New York City Council, after eight months of bill editing, on Sept. 27 unanimously approved legislation establishing construction safety training requirements and programming.
The bill was introduced in January in response to the high number of construction site deaths in the city – at press time, 40 since 2014, according to a New York Times report. The legislation was changed twice to satisfy stakeholders – including the city’s real estate board, independent contractors and immigration officials – who were worried that day laborers would not be able to afford the training. The bill was revised to include $5 million to help fund their training.
Fines of up to $25,000 will be levied on sites using untrained workers, and workers can keep working until December 2018 if they have at least 10 hours of training completed by March. Permits for work can be withheld or denied renewal if the employer cannot prove all workers on a project have the required training.
Also included in the legislation, which went into effect immediately:
- Workers must complete between 40 to 55 hours of safety training. The Department of Buildings will control the administration of the hours.
- Workers can satisfy their training requirement with completion of an alternative training program, but only if DOB allows it after comparing it to the bill’s established training program.
“Today is a historic moment in the progressive fight for a safer workplace,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in a press release.
Mayor Bill de Blasio added, “This vote means that New York City hard hats will get the safety training they need for one of our city’s most dangerous jobs, and that will help get them home to their families at night and keep construction sites safe for everyone.”