In an unanimous 42-0 vote, the New York City Council approved a bill requiring workers on most construction sites (three stories high and greater) to complete at least 40 hours of safety training.
The initial bill proposed to the council required 59 hours of training, but opponents said mandatory training requirements would put non-union and day workers at a disadvantage because, according to the New York Times report, many of those workers are immigrants or minorities who often lack the money or language skills to get training.
The final bill approved Wednesday settled on 40 hours of training and pledged $5 million to help day laborers and small contractors afford training.
The bill requires workers to complete a 40-hour training course by December 2018, or September 2020 if the Department of Buildings determines that there aren’t enough training facilities available for workers to meet that deadline.
By March 2018, workers must complete the equivalent of OSHA 10, a 10-hour course sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration. Those workers will then complete an additional 30 hours of training. At least eight of those hours will focus on fall dangers by workers and objects at construction sites. Workers who have completed safety training in an apprenticehip or completed a 100-hour training course in the past five years are exempt from undergoing the additional training.
New York City has seen a dramatic increase in injuries and deaths due to falls recently. In the two years of 2015 and 2016, 24 workers died and eight workers have died so far in 2017.
Construction sites that are found to violate the new safety regulations could be fined up to $25,000 for each untrained worker.
“Too many fatalities have occurred on construction sites in this city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are not as a legislative body going to sit by and allow workers to continue to die, and for these construction sites that are unsafe to pose a risk to New Yorkers. We will not do that. And anyone that is asking us to do that is being negligent and irresponsible.”
Mayor de Blasio is expected to sign the bill.