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NYC Introduces Safety Training Rule

Thursday, May 31, 2018

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Under a new law recently finalized in New York City, workers on many construction sites will be required to go through increased safety training. 

Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler announced earlier this month that the Department of Buildings is mandating that workers at certain job sites have 40 hours of safety training and that supervisors have 62 hours of training.

Worker safety
© iStock.com / pidjoe

New York City officials have finalized requirements of a law passed last October that ups the safety training requirements for most of the city’s construction workers.

“Most construction accidents are preventable, which is why increased safety training is so important,” Chandler said. “Every worker who leaves for the job site in the morning deserves to come home safely at night. I thank Mayor de Blasio, our partners in the City Council, and the members of the Site Safety Training Task Force for their work to improve safety for workers and the public.”

The New Law

The announcement is a clarification of Local Law 196, which was signed in October 2017 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. At the time, the law dictated that by March 2018, workers were required to have at least 10 hours of safety training and by December 2018, workers are required to have 30 hours of training. (Supervisors were always mandated with the 62 hours.)

However, when the law was signed, Mayor Bill de Blasio left the hours subject to change, as well as the curriculum, and a task force was set up to iron out the details.

Crain’s reported that the task force met only once, in February, before making its recommendations for the now-approved 40-hour requirement, which applies to workers at sites for which the DOB requires construction superintendents, site-safety coordinators or site-safety managers.

Chandler’s announcement also specified deadlines. While the March deadline for 10 hours held, the December deadline for the 30 (or 62) hours can extend to June 1, 2019, if the DOB determines that “there is insufficient training capacity.”

Likewise, the 40-hour requirement needs to be fulfilled, in theory, by May 1, 2019, but can be extended all the way to Sept. 1, 2020, if deemed necessary.

Responses

It’s that “insufficient training capacity” that worries some.

"[This law] is fundamentally flawed," Real Estate Board of New York President John Banks said in a statement. "There are numerous issues to resolve and questions to answer."

Questions include what the curriculum will look like, how all workers will have access and funding for training and who will be qualified to teach the training.

“In the coming weeks, the Department will be issuing guidelines that DOB-approved course providers can use to build their curriculum for approval,” according to the DOB statement.

The agency did note that workers are able to take a 30-hour safety course approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, eight hours of training on fall prevention and two hours of drug and alcohol awareness training to complete a number of their hour requirements.

Chandler also noted in his announcement that the City’s Department of Small Business Services is also planning to develop a program that’s in compliance with the new law, which would also fulfill de Blasio’s commitment to small businesses.

“In addition to the free skills [training] we currently provide to jobseekers, we’ll be offering a free construction safety training course that will help ensure equal access for New Yorkers to meet these new requirements,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

   

Tagged categories: Health and safety; Laws and litigation; OSHA; Safety; Worker training

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