Bill would require training to ensure that construction sites are safe for everyone

City Hall – Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Jumaane Williams, and Council Member Carlos Menchaca joined advocates to announce a conclusion to lengthy negotiations over construction safety training legislation. The result is a bill shaped by extensive feedback from the public and stakeholders from every quarter, and one that will make construction sites safer for everyone – from the people who live and work near those sites to the workers who build them.

Introduction 1447-C was originally heard by the Housing and Buildings Committee on January 18, 2017, and since then has underwent hundreds of hours of negotiation with stakeholders, as well as close review by the Council and the Administration. The final bill will do the following:

  • Establishes site safety training requirements for workers at most construction sites (excluding sites that involve buildings with only 1-3 dwelling units or minor work).
  • Requires workers to undergo between 40-55 hours of safety training. These hours will be specified by the Department of Buildings (DOB) 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.

The bill also includes provisions to help workers get the training they will need. For example:

  • The bill 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.
  • The 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 – for example, day laborers and workers employed by small MWBE contractors.

Based on ongoing discussions with the Administration, 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 FY 2018. An additional $1 million would be reserved to cover administrative costs of the program.

“The wellbeing of all New Yorkers is tantamount, and legislation to ensure safety on and around the hundreds of construction sites that operate each day in our city has been long overdue,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank Council Member Williams and Council Member Menchaca for their dedication to ensuring the safety of construction workers in our city. The Council will continue to look for productive ways to improve safety standards and protect workers and the public.”

“It is absolutely essential that construction workers around New York City receive necessary safety training, and we in the Council are committed to making that training more accessible,” says Council Member Jumaane Williams. “I’m very pleased that this program will help ensure that all workers, regardless of affiliation, get the training they need to stay safe on the job, and that the public will also be protected. I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito for making this issue a priority.”

“Ensuring construction worker safety training is my priority. I commend my Council colleagues in recognizing that the long series of preventable work site fatalities in recent years were preventable,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “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. I am confident we have set new training standards that will save lives.”