Photo Courtesy of William Alatriste/NY City Council
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has said that the council has been “working with advocates and stakeholders on developing legislation that both educates and protects the scores of construction site laborers working around the city.”
By Michael V. Cusenza
The City Council on Wednesday afternoon was set to vote on the construction site safety training bill, which specifies certain training and qualification requirements that the persons engaged in the construction and demolition of certain buildings must meet.
Last week, Intro. 1447-C was approved by the Council Committee on Housing and Buildings.
“Throughout negotiations on Introduction 1447-C, we have remained committed to working with advocates and stakeholders on developing legislation that both educates and protects the scores of construction site laborers working around the city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Housing and Buildings Chairman Jumaane Williams, and Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) in a joint statement. “Establishing site safety training requirements and mandating the creation of an equal access informational program goes far in accomplishing that mission, and we are proud of the collaboration between the City Council and the administration that saw $4 million contributed toward the realization of this goal. We are pleased to see Introduction 1447-C voted out of committee today, and look forward to its upcoming review by the full City Council.”
Last Wednesday, Mark-Viverito, Williams, and Menchaca joined advocates to announce a conclusion to lengthy negotiations over construction safety training legislation. The bill was originally heard by the Housing and Buildings Committee on Jan. 18, and since then has underwent hundreds of hours of negotiation with stakeholders, including building trade unions and representatives from the real estate industry, as well as close review by the council and the administration.
According to the council, the final bill:
• Establishes site safety training requirements for workers at most construction sites (excluding sites that involve buildings with only one to three dwelling units or minor work).
• Requires workers to undergo between 40-55 hours of safety training. These hours will be specified by the City Department of Buildings 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.
• 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.
Additionally, the City Department of Small Business Services will also develop a training 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.
According to the City, 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 Fiscal Year 2018. An additional $1 million would be reserved to cover administrative costs of the program.
“I’ve listened to the concerns of all stakeholders impacted by this legislation, including workers with limited access to training who are most often at risk of injury and death,” Menchaca added. “I am confident we have set new training standards that will save lives.”