Also votes to create penalties for scaling city buildings, bridges, and monuments
City Hall, September 4, 2008 – At today’s Stated Council meeting, the members of the City Council will vote on three pieces of legislation to improve construction safety at sites where tower and climber cranes are in use. Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation that would make it illegal to scale any city structure over 50 feet tall, including statues, cranes, bridges, signs, or buildings.
The Council will also vote to:
• Require the Department for the Aging to develop and administer education programs on the issue of elder abuse for both senior service providers and seniors themselves; and
• Extend the boundaries of the NoHo historic district.
CONSTRUCTION SITE SAFETY LEGISLATION
As a Continuation of the reforms the Council has made on the issue of construction site safety, the City Council will vote on three pieces of legislation that will improve safety at sites where tower and climber cranes are being used.
• Heightening communication and coordination of safety procedures. This comprehensive piece of legislation strengthens and better coordinates safety procedure and inspection protocols between the many workers involved in tower and climber crane erection, jumping, climbing, and dismantling operations.
Specifically this legislation requires that licensed engineers and riggers prepare a plan for the erection and operation of a tower or climber crane and file this plan with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Further, prior to a crane’s initial erection or dismantling, the general contractor must hold a safety coordination meeting with the engineer, rigger, the crane safety coordinator, and the site safety manager. Records of these meetings must be kept on site for inspection by DOB.
Furthermore, a pre-jump safety meeting must take place no more than 24-hours prior to each instance of a tower or climber crane jump or climb. The general contractor must notify DOB at least 48-hours before any safety coordination meetings or pre-jump safety meetings are held, and these meetings must cover topics related to scope of work, roles and responsibilities, rigging equipment, sequence of operations, inspection of rigging equipment, tools prior to work, review of all equipment, permit validity, qualifications and training of personnel, relevant weather warnings, compliance with the manufacturer’s manual.
• Increasing climber and tower crane training requirements. Workers operate climber or tower cranes will be required to complete an authorized 30-hour training course. Workers, who have completed the course once, will need to take an eight-hour refresher course within three years from the initial course and every three years thereafter. The rigger will be required to certify in a meeting log that all members of the jumping crew have completed training requirements. Additionally, individuals applying for a rigger license will be required to complete another 30-hour training course, with an eight-hour refresher course every three years.
• Limiting the Use of Nylon Slings. This legislation would limit the use of nylon slings in the operation of climber or tower cranes to instances where the manufacturer’s manual specifically states or recommends the use of these slings and where certain additional safety measures have been taken.
“The tragedies that have occurred at city construction sites over the past year are both devastating and unacceptable,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The City Council has made a commitment to improving the safety of our construction sites, and today’s legislation implements smart regulations around crane operation that will help to protect the workers that are so important to the development of our City and the pedestrians that walk around construction site cranes everyday.
“It’s been almost six months since the crane collapse in March. Unfortunately, people in my community are still dealing with the impact of that tragedy. We have taken that time to craft meaningful and thoughtful legislation to improve construction safety throughout the city,” said Council member Jessica Lappin. “I’m proud to have worked with the Mayor, labor, the construction, industry, and my colleagues in the Council to draft and pass these three bills that I believe will make construction safer in New York City.”
“This year, we have seen far too many New Yorkers placed in harm’s way and far too much loss of life because of accidents on construction sites,” said Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Erik Martin-Dilan. “While our work and commitment to construction safety will always continue, today’s legislation is yet another important step in ensuring that those working on our construction sites are armed with and held to the highest of safety standards.”
BASE JUMPING LEGISLATION
In an effort to prevent the unnecessary and dangerous deployment of city resources, the Council will vote on legislation that will prohibit people from climbing, jumping and suspending themselves from New York City’s tall buildings and structures. This legislation applies to any monument, statue, crane, bridge, sign, tower or other object that exceeds fifty feet in height. Any person that violates this saw would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to one thousand dollars or both.
“The tall buildings in New York give our City one of the most recognizable skylines in the world” said Speaker Quinn. “The people who climb these tall structures put themselves, our law enforcement officials and innocent bystanders at risk. This legislation will make these actions illegal and work to deter future attempts to climb our city’s buildings.”
“We had to act before New York City became Disneyland for daredevils,” said Public Safety Committee Chair Peter Vallone, Jr. “Hopefully now, people will realize that if they pull a stunt that endangers our first responders and pedestrians, they will end up in a jail cell.”
The attempt by a man to jump from the observation deck of the Empire State Building in 2006 and two men independently climbing the New York Times building earlier this summer highlighted the danger, inconvenience and cost of such actions as well as the insufficiency of existing laws to deter them.
ELDER ABUSE LEGISLATION
To help senior center employees and seniors themselves understand the issue of elder abuse and what to do about it, the Council is voting on legislation that will require the Department for the Aging to develop training programs and disseminate information about the issue of elder abuse. The law requires the Commissioner to develop a program to train senior service providers in the detection and reporting of elder abuse and the counseling of abuse victims.
All senior center employees of centers that contract with the Department for the Aging must be trained in elder abuse detection, reporting, and counseling every three years. Senior Centers must hold at least two educational sessions per year in which guests and members will receive counseling regarding elder abuse prevention and awareness, and they will be instructed on how to detect and report elder abuse. Additionally, senior centers must post signage on a prominent common area that directs anyone that needs information regarding elder abuse to call either 311 or the Department’s elderly Crime Victims Resource Center.
“We must do everything we can to make sure some of our most vulnerable New York City residents and those that provide services to them know about the issue of elder abuse,” said Speaker Quinn. This legislation will go a long way in ensuring that victims of elder abuse are provided both with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and get vital counseling services and with service providers that are trained to identify elder abuse and provide seniors with the help they need.”
“By training senior-service employees to spot signs of elder abuse and alerting seniors to the resources available to them, we are taking a big step forward in stamping out this unspeakable offense,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Senior Centers. “While it sickens me to think that anyone would try to injure a senior citizen, research shows that physical, emotional, and financial abuse against the elderly is more common than we’d like to admit. And just like with domestic abuse and child abuse, awareness is the key. By passing this bill, the City Council is sending a clear message that those who would take advantage of our elderly will no longer get to hide in the shadows.”
EXTENSION OF NOHO HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Council will vote today to extend the Noho Historic District, expanding the number of buildings with historic district status from 167 to 223. The expansion will change the district to include the areas between Lafayette Street to the west and the Bowery to the east, and between East 4th and Bond streets to the north and south. The earliest structures include several residences that date to the late 1820s, but most of the buildings were constructed between the 1860s and early 1900s. The new historic designation will ensure that the areas signature Art-deco style will remain an integral part of the City’s vibrant history.
“I’m thrilled to be approving the third and final installment of the Noho Historic District,” said Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maratime Uses Subcommittee Chair Jessica Lappin. “This designation finishes what was started and promised a long time ago and will protect the historic architecture and character of this neighborhood.”
“This long-awaited NoHo III Expansion Historic District enjoys overwhelming popular support in the community,” said Council member Alan Gerson. “Today’s Council vote will ensure that the unique character and integrity of this wonderful New York neighborhood will flourish for years to come.”