Council to Vote on Construction Safety Legislation and on Requiring the Public Disclosure of Bedbug Infestations in Residential Buildings

Council will also vote on a 311 Complaint Notification Service for Business Owners and on Commissioning a Study of City Transportation Deserts

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on legislation to make construction sites safer. This legislation is part of the Construction Safety Act, a larger package of legislation focused on construction safety. The Council will also vote to require the public disclosure of bedbug infestations in residential buildings. In addition, the Council will vote on a 311 complaint notification service for business owners, and on the commissioning of a study of city transportation deserts. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation to improve the Vendor Information Exchange System and related requirements, and on distributing college savings materials to the parents of pre-K students and newborns. Notifying emergency personnel of planned street resurfacing and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing designation for Caton Flats in Brooklyn will also receive a vote.

Making Construction Sites Safer

As the pace of construction in New York City increases and construction projects get bigger and more complex, the number of construction injuries and deaths have also increased. In response to this increase, Council Members have introduced a package of legislation, the Construction Safety Act, aimed at making construction sites safer for everyone, including workers and the public. Today, the Council will be voting on a package of legislation that is part of the larger Construction Safety Act.

“All around New York City, construction workers risk their lives on projects that grow bigger by the day,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Unsafe sites represent an unnecessary danger for the men and women working to complete our newest structures, and implementing safety protections is an important step in better respecting the physical sacrifices they make in order to keep building. This package of legislation will go far in preventing the likelihood of future accidents, and will keep contractors and other monitors accountable for the protection of their workers. I thank my colleagues – including Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Jumaane Williams – for their work on these essential bills.”

Introduction 81-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require the Department of Buildings to report certain violations of the New York City Building Code to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“If New York City is going to prevent another 33 construction worker fatalities over the next two years, we need to make sure that the Buildings Department is communicating with OSHA about violations that could jeopardize worker safety,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “We cannot solve the problem if the left hand is not working together with the right hand.”

Introduction 1421-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would require all cranes to be equipped with a global positioning system (GPS), or other similar device, which is capable of transmitting the location of the crane to which it is attached to the Department of Buildings (DOB). Where there is no device, DOB must be notified of the date upon which the crane will arrive at the site before work begins, and the date of the departure of the crane from the site upon conclusion of the work.

“This bill is an essential part of a crane safety package introduced in the wake of a tragedy that occurred in my Council District, and others in different parts of our City,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Introduction 1421-A will require GPS devices on cranes that are mobile, and exclude climber cranes and other operations that require dismantling plans. Having GPS devices on operating cranes will allow DOB to conduct audits of mobile crane activity in real time and will allow DOB and crane operators to determine the best routes when moving throughout the city — similar to GPS devices on TLC vehicles and delivery trucks. I want to thank the Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Housing and Buildings Chair Jumaane Williams for their support as we take this necessary step towards increasing safety for everyone living and working in our City.”

Introduction 1435-A, sponsored by Council Member Alan Maisel, would require cranes to be equipped with event recorders to collect the following data: crane configurations, any overload condition, status of limit switches, and operator overrides. This information would be made available to the Department of Buildings (DOB) upon request.

“As our beloved New York City continues to build, we must be mindful and raise safety standards to ensure the well-being of all.  I am pleased to sponsor legislation which will require cranes to be equipped with data logging devices.  The devices will provide vital tracking information to help with agency oversight,” said Council Member Alan Maisel.

Introduction 1433-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would expand the data that must be reported when an accident that results in an injury or fatality to a member of the public or a construction worker occurs at a construction site.

“Every single life lost at a New York City construction site matters and should be counted accordingly,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “In the last two years, an alarming 33 construction workers have died on the job. Introduction 1443 will ensure the city gets the data needed to implement the solutions being voted on in this package of legislation.”

Introduction 1446-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require hoisting machine operators to obtain a special “rating” in order to operate particularly large cranes. The licensing rating would be obtained through satisfactory demonstration by operation, practical examination, or completion of simulator training specific to the make and model of the crane.

Introduction 1448-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require that certain buildings under ten stories, excluding 1-, 2- and 3-family buildings, retain a construction superintendent, who, among other things, is responsible for maintaining a safe job site. Further, it would require that such buildings create a site safety plan and keep such plan on site.

“The one thing all construction workers have in common, whether union or non-union, is that they go into work every day because they are trying to feed their families,” said Committee on Housing and Buildings Chair Jumaane Williams. “Just because we are experiencing a construction boom in the City, it doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice safety precautions to keep up with the pace. Introductions 1446 and 1448 moves us in the right direction in minimizing harm to workers and the public by requiring safety plans and a safety monitoring program at construction sites, and by strengthening licensing requirements for crane operators. These bills are for all of the workers who didn’t make it home after a day on their job site. My hope is that with due diligence and oversight, we can prevent one more family from losing a loved one.”

Public Disclosure of Bedbug Infestations in Residential Buildings

The City Council will vote on the following legislation to educate tenants about actions they can take to prevent the spread of bedbugs and enhance transparency on infestation issues.

Introduction 648-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require owners of certain residential buildings to provide annual reports to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development regarding past bedbug infestations occurring in those buildings. The bill also would require owners to annually provide each tenant with information on bedbug infestations that have occurred in the tenant’s building, as well as information on the prevention, detection and removal of bedbug infestations.

“By requiring the disclosure of a property or apartment’s bedbug infestation history, my legislation ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the information they need to protect themselves from these vermin,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Bedbug infestations are incredibly frustrating experiences, draining both tenants and owners of their time, energy and money.  Infestations are particularly taxing on low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are already facing physical and financial hardship.  My bill when enacted will ensure that tenants and owners are better prepared to take preventative measures and stop the spread of infestation.  I thank my colleagues for supporting this important and timely legislation.”

311 Complaint Notification Service for Small Business Owners

Small business owners are not always aware of 311 complaints regarding their businesses. This can slowdown response time, and leave owners vulnerable to further issues in the interim. The following legislation would enable business owners to opt-in to receiving timely notifications of complaints.

Introduction 891-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would allow business owners to opt to receive notifications via text or email each time the address of their business is provided as part of a 311 request for service or complaint.

Commissioning a Citywide Transit Study

Even though New York City boasts the largest public subway system in the world, there are many neighborhoods that remain underserved.

Introduction 965-A, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a citywide transit study. As part of the study, DOT would have to develop strategies to improve transit access to neighborhoods underserved by the subway system. Plans for transit improvement to serve areas identified as part of the study to be in need of transit access would include a variety of modes including light rail, bus and subway.

“Transportation deserts across our city often correlate to higher than average poverty rates,” said Committee on Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “By ensuring that these areas are studied closely and taken into consideration when planning expansions of our transit system, we can help residents get a leg up in finding better job opportunities, increase access to quality health care and education, and so much more. While at the same time, we can reduce car use in these areas with few transit options, as residents can have other means to move about that are less expensive and more efficient. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and I hope to see its impacts very soon.”

Streamlining the Vendor Information Exchange System

The Vendor Information Exchange System (VENDEX) is maintained by the City as a repository of information to provide background regarding prospective vendors seeking City contracts and to assist contracting officers in determining whether those prospective bidders are “responsible.”

Introduction 1271-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require contractors and subcontractors to submit vendor questionnaires electronically.

Introduction 1224-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would increase the VENDEX questionnaire threshold for city contracts or subcontracts to $250,000 or more during the preceding 12-month period.

“Procurement reform is never going to be the sexiest issue, but making sure the City contracts effectively and efficiently is an essential part of making government work,” said Committee on Contracts Chair Helen Rosenthal. “My two bills will make it easier for contractors to do business with the City, and even more important, help to ensure that the City spends taxpayer money wisely. Introduction 1271-A will move us toward an all-digital procurement process, requiring vendors to fill out their VENDEX procurement questionnaire online. This is a common sense step toward moving our contracting process into the 21st century. It will allow the City to begin to modernize every step of the procurement process, and lays the groundwork for the innovative and cutting-edge new “Passport” system, which begins this Fiscal Year. Introduction 1224-A makes our City contracting process more user-friendly for small businesses by raising the earnings threshold for companies required to fill out a VENDEX questionnaire from $100,000 to $250,000, removing a major hurdle for small businesses doing business with the City.”

Introduction 1324-A, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would require MOCS to make public access to vendor information available online on the city’s website.

“Introduction 1324-A is another move toward a more transparent New York City,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “It will make accessing information around city contracts and contractors easier with a much needed move to a digitized, updated system for tracking records. This will ultimately ensure this information is more accessible and open to the public.”

Distribution of College Savings Materials to Parents of Pre-K Students

The Department of Education (DOE) is currently required to distribute information about college savings plans, such as New York’s 529 savings plan, to students in kindergarten, 6th grade, 9th grade, and to any new student. In light of the rising cost of higher education, parents and students would benefit from planning, preparing, and saving money for college earlier in a child’s life.

Introduction 1254-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would require the DOE to additionally distribute college savings materials to pre-kindergarteners, and would require the materials to include information on other resources available to parents and students regarding financial planning for post-secondary education, including saving for college, university, and vocational schools. The bill would require DOE to make the materials available in multiple languages. The bill would also require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to distribute such college savings plan materials to parents and guardians within 3 months after a child’s birth. The bill would require DOHMH to make the materials available on its website and to make the materials available in multiple languages.

“Never before has postsecondary education been more important to the journey toward a successful career,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “Yet, as a former high school teacher, I understand that pursuing postsecondary education has also never been more cost-prohibitive. There are steps, however, that parents can take years before their children are ready to begin applying to colleges or other institutions that can make the acquisition of a postsecondary degree more affordable and attainable. I was proud to introduce this legislation, in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, because I believe mandating the distribution of college savings plan information and materials to parents of newborns – and then reminding parents each time their child advances to a new school – will significantly heighten awareness of these critical resources and will educate new parents about the importance of financial literacy, as well. This is an important victory for parents and our future generations. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in the City Council for supporting this sensible legislation.”

Notifying Emergency Personnel of Active Street Resurfacing

Street repair can hinder timely responses to public safety emergencies. The following legislation is intended to keep fire and police officials aware of roadway work that may be occurring along their routes.

Introduction 1311-A, sponsored by Council Member Chaim Deutsch, would require DOT to notify the Police Department and the Fire Department two days prior to resurfacing work on any street.

The Council will vote on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area status for the following…

Caton Flats Development at 794 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn

The existing Flatbush Caton Market will be temporarily relocated while the site is redeveloped into a larger facility measuring 14 stories and including 19,824 square feet of commercial space, 11,221 square feet of community facility space, and 197,912 square feet of residential space spread across 251 housing units.

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