After long debate among union, non-union and real estate groups, the New York City Council unanimously passed the construction safety bill Introduction 1447-C with a 42-0 vote, which aims to prevent accidents by increasing the number of required safety training hours per worker. Recently re-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill on October 16, 2017.
The new safety bill requires that New York City construction workers complete 40-55 hours of safety training over the course of three phases beginning in 2018, with 8 hours solely dedicated to the dangers posed by falling workers and objects at construction sites. In order to ensure fair and equal access to resources, the bill introduces a plan to grant $5 million to laborers and contractors – including minority- and women-owned businesses – that cannot afford to pay for the training necessary to meet the new law’s requirements.
The safety training requirements must be completed in three phases as shown below:
March 1, 2018: All workers on jobsites under 10 stories must have completed at least one OSHA-10 course by this date.
December 1, 2018: In addition to OSHA-10, all workers must complete an additional 20 hours of safety training. This requirement can be fulfilled by either completing an OSHA-30 course, or by completing 20 additional hours of safety training (with details to be determined by DOB). If the DOB finds the supply of training resources to be insufficient, the second compliance date will be adjusted to a date no later than June 1, 2019.
May 1, 2019: In addition to the requirements above, workers must complete an additional 10-25 safety training hours (to be determined by a future appointed Construction Safety Task Force) to meet the required 40-55 hours. If the DOB finds the supply of training resources to be insufficient, the final compliance date will be adjusted to a date no later than September 1, 2020.
Furthermore, Intro 1447-C allows for the issuance of temporary and limited site safety training cards that permit workers to continue working before fully completing the required training hours at each phase if issues arise. The bill goes on to state that each employer must maintain a daily log with each worker’s information and training status, which will be presented to the DOB if requested, and failure to comply with the bill can result in penalties starting at $5,000.
In order to effectively monitor and address the resulting changes, the bill calls for the creation of a 14-person Construction Safety Task Force (7 members appointed by City Council speaker and 7 members appointed by the mayor), in addition to the chairperson, with representation from union and non-union organizations, minority-and women-owned business enterprises, and day laborers.
The Task Force must be proactive in providing training related recommendations and improvements to the commissioner; must set up a system for receiving and reviewing recommendations via the public; and should provide the commissioner with additional site safety training courses and topics by March 1, 2018. These topics include, but are not limited to, fall protection; personal protection equipment (PPE); confined space awareness; excavation work; ladders and stairs; asbestos awareness; and handling heavy materials and proper lifting techniques.
Click here for further information regarding Introduction 1447-C.
Photo: Courtesy of Mayor's Office