New York City’s mandatory construction safety law is being revised to expand the pool of educators that can provide site safety training classes to construction workers. The legislative revisions, which went before City Council on Nov. 14, also have been designed to make minor clarifications to overly broad bill language.
This is at least the second legislative fix to the major construction safety law. There also have been some administrative changes, including the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) pushing back the deadline for workers to receive training, City & State New York reports.
The safety law requires workers to have completed at least 30 hours of training by Dec. 1 2019, and 40 hours by Sept. 1, 2020. Before the law, no safety training was required for workers on smaller buildings, and just ten hours on larger buildings.
The original construction safety bill has particular criticism from black and Latino groups, who thought the bill would benefit unionized workers – a population that is disproportionately white – to the detriment of non-unionized workers, who are largely people of color. Lead sponsors, then-City Councilman Jumaane Williams and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca were able to get the legislation passed with support from the Building Trades Council.
Williams is now the New York City public advocate and is the lead sponsor of the new bill meant to improve access to training for people of color. “This is not only extending capacity,” Williams told City & State. “It’s extending it to community organizations that usually don’t have an entry to do this, particularly black and brown organizations.”
Williams said his bill is a way to get more workers trained, sooner. “We just have to keep pushing,” he said. “Can’t change the deadline again. It’s just not going to happen.”