On November 7, 2018, NYC DOB Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE, announced at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA) that the upcoming Local Law 196 of 2017 (“LL196”) deadlines have been extended.
The original deadline required many of the City’s construction workers to have at least 30 hours of safety training-, and for supervisors to accumulate 62 hours-, by December 1, 2018. The due date is now pushed back six months to June 1, 2019. In addition, the final portion of the multi-phased legislation, which requires workers to have 40 hours of safety training, was extended from May 1, 2019 to September 1, 2020. These safety-training mandates apply to workers at all sites requiring construction superintendents, site-safety coordinators, or site-safety managers.
A DOB release quotes Chandler as saying, “We are extending these deadlines to give city construction workers more time to get the training they need to stay safe on the job.”
Since March 1, 2018, workers have been required to have at least 10 hours of training under the first phase of LL196. All ultimate goals remain unchanged.
A Contingency Plan from the Get-Go
The potential need for extensions was anticipated by the DOB and built into the original, carefully worded legislation stating that additional time might be allowed if it was found that there was “insufficient capacity” among training providers to meet the dates.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, the prime sponsor of the original legislation, said in a recent interview in Crain’s that, "When we passed this landmark legislation, we anticipated that it would be a significant process that may require some adaptability, and structured the law accordingly. We're committed to ensuring this life-saving training is effectively administered for the people who build our city."
A Wise Choice – Added Time Yields Industry Praise
The decision to extend followed roundtable discussions with industry stakeholders, including the DOB’s Site Safety Training Task Force, which is a group comprised of safety professionals from organized labor and the industry.
Lou Coletti, President and CEO of the BTEA, was quoted in the original DOB release as saying, “These changes will help us create a safer, better trained workforce.” He also stated, according to several publications including Crain’s New York and Construction Dive, that while there is no compromise on the goal, the extension “provides a more reasoned approach on how to get there in a way that won't be disruptive."
Brian Sampson, President of the Empire Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors, called the decision "prudent and in the best interest of the workers and welcomed by the industry."
Sampson also said that the initial 2018 deadline "would have posed a major challenge for legitimate contractors…who were trying to utilize qualified, competent and approved DOB providers”. He noted too that it would have hindered the ability for newer workers trying to gain a foothold into the industry.
A new AEU3321 form was created to certify correction for summonses issued for failing to comply with Site Safety Training requirements.
Procrastinators Beware – The Steep Price of Non-compliance
Clearly, it would be extremely ill-advised for any to see the six-month reprieve as an invitation to procrastinate, as the cost of non-compliance is steep.
If the DOB finds untrained workers on a site-safety job site, the agency will issue a violation to the general contractor who holds the permit, —with an associated civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each untrained worker. It will issue similar violations to the owners of the property and the employer of the untrained worker, which can add up to $15,000. Multiply that by the number of each untrained worker found at the site and the figure becomes daunting.
Additionally, on September 5, 2018, the DOB created a Construction Safety Compliance (CSC) Unit dedicated to performing safety compliance inspections, which include, but are not limited to, checking for compliance with LL196. At last count, out of 968 inspections, 75% or 727 sites passed inspection and 25% or 241 sites failed. The DOB expects to ramp up inspections to meet its goal of 8,500 Department-permitted sites per month.
Means and Methods to Reach the Goal
Workers have options for accumulating training hours towards the required 10, 30, and eventually 40 hours (or 62 for supervisors). They can take both OSHA-10 and/or OSHA-30 courses taught by an OSHA authorized instructor, or they can choose to combine OSHA-10 with 20 hours of DOB-approved courses and electives. DOB courses must be conducted by a DOB approved course provider (a school, training academy, union entity, etc.). Upon completion of OSHA courses, the instructor gives students cards issued by OSHA, certifying that the hours were satisfactorily met. Similarly, cards showing that the DOB courses were completed are printed at the office of the training entity and given to students upon course completion. A new method of issuing uniform Site Safety training cards, including temporary cards for new entrants to construction or demolition, will indicate the number of training hours the individual accrued. This method, not yet in effect, will be implemented in connection with LL196.
Becoming a Course Provider
n July 2018, the DOB issued course guidelines and an amended application, allowing course providers to apply for approval to offer Site Safety Training courses. The curriculum was first shared with the industry during the Department’s annual Build Safe│Live Safe Conference in May 2018. Information on the curricula and the various ways to become a DOB-approved course provider can be found on the Department’s website. For specific questions, you may email LocalLaw196@buildings.nyc.gov.
As there is a cost factor to taking courses, the DOB is working on ways to provide assistance. For example, OSHA-30 courses can be $450 to $550 per person, which adds up for a small construction company. SKYlines noted in its last issue that the City’s Department of Small Business Services is developing a program to provide greater access to small business owners, employees and day laborers. You may apply here.
Industry experts respond to SKYlines's questions:
L-R: Peter Amato; Robert DeMarco; Jake Toth, CHST.
Do you feel the deadline extensions are in the best interest of the industry as a whole?
Peter Amato, President and Owner, Site Safety LLC:
This allows the industry a few extra months to be in compliance with the Law. There are many approved schools that have been prepared to provide this training. The biggest concern for the industry is ensuring that training is performed by reputable training schools accredited by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) as well as the NYC DOB. We do not want bogus training cards issued or poor quality training for our industry. This will cost lives.
Robert DeMarco, Program Director/ Senior Instructor, Swing Staging Training & Safety, LLC:
I believe these training requirements will benefit all parties with life and treasure if applied properly. We need to ensure that the 2019 and 2020 deadlines are adhered to and that employers do not wait until the last minute to get the training done.
Jake Toth, CHST, Director of Safety and Training, Andromeda Advantage:
Yes. The deadline extensions give more time to educators and students to ensure that the best instruction is provided. The methods of testing have become more stringent and the methods of monitoring results are tougher. The benefit is that everyone licensed will have a good grasp of the knowledge.
The DOB goes above and beyond what was originally outlined, pinpointing the problems related to NYC construction safety to be sure that the training addresses all issues that made Local Law 196 come into being.
Are you confident that industry stakeholders are sufficiently informed and educated about the specifics including curriculum requirements?
PA: Yes. We have provided several free seminars to the industry and sent countless updates on this topic.
RD: I am confident that stakeholders are reaching out to their counterparts in the industry to back up and enforce the information provided from the Department. The Department held many forums for the industry to gather information but it will take the trainers and students to achieve the results albeit better. How informed (trained) and aware (safe) all will be, will be determined by actions in the classroom, field and will require follow through.
JT: Yes, the DOB does a great job of keeping stakeholders informed of what is needed to do our job effectively and efficiently. They constantly send out e-mail notifications to keep the construction industry abreast of evolving and changing requirements. The DOB hosts regular seminars, along with its annual Live Safe | Build Safe Conference, that keep us informed through multiple channels. DOB personnel pay visits to course providers to be sure no one is cutting corners.
Is your training firm reaching out to companies and worker organizations to ensure that the two deadlines are met?
PA: Absolutely and have been for over a year now.
RM: We, of course, are informing our clients and the industry in many ways to ensure they are not only aware of the deadlines, but more importantly, informed as to why they should consider meeting these and further goals now to get ahead of the curve. Our clients and I believe experience, training, and planning are the backbones of a safe and productive company, trade, site and city.
JT: Absolutely! Andromeda Academy of Construction Trades is sending weekly e-mails and reminders out. Additionally, our new website is available to facilitate course enrollment.