NYC Passes Extensive Construction Safety Bill

April 26, 2017

New York's City Council passed a new safety bill Tuesday which carries significant changes is how construction deaths are reported and what new safety procedures must be adhered to under penalty of fines up to $25,000.

The City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings approved six bills. Here are the highlights.

Worker safety:

ALL people injured or killed when an accident occurs must be reported to the Department of Buildings.  A minimum civil penalty of $2,500 would be applied for failing to report the information. Currently, only deaths that involved violations of the city's construction code are currently counted, while those involving workplace safety violations but not city code violations are not. Under the new law, the building's agency will be required to report on construction deaths whether they involve a city code violation or not. 

The city will be required to track and publish a full list of all deaths and injuries at construction sites. There will be no exclusions due to union or non-union workers. Contractors will have to report details including the type of injury, how long the worker has been on the job, and whether they were unionized. Construction companies that fail to report deaths face fines up to $25,000.

The Department of Buildings must report to OSHA any violations of the City’s Construction Code that potentially endangers workplace safety. Further, Buildings would be required to report to the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council on those reports.

Buildings under construction that are more than four stories in height must retain a construction superintendent and are required to have a safety plan created for that particular construction site. The plan must be available to all workers on the site.


All mobile cranes must be equipped with a GPS or similar device in order to transmit the location of cranes to the Department of Buildings. When a crane does not have a GPS, Buildings must be notified of the crane’s arrival and departure from a construction site.

All hoisting machine operators are required to have a license rating in order to operate certain large cranes. The licensing rating can be obtained through demonstration by operation, practical exam, or completion of simulator training.

All cranes must be equipped with event recorders to collect information on: crane configurations, any overload condition, status of limit switches, and operator overrides. This information must be available to the Department of Buildings upon request.

Tuesday's session did not include a proposal for the most controversial bill in the council's construction-safety package, which requires training for workers. It has been amended and will not get a vote this week. Nonunion builders complained that the legislation would steer workers into apprenticeships controlled by organized labor.