State legislation proposed to stiffen construction safety violation penalties

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State Assemblyman Francisco Moya says he plans to introduce legislation to amend the state’s penal code dealing with the prosecution of corporations to make it easier to prosecute contractors and developers who violate construction safety rules.

If contractors neglect to follow safety procedures that result in an accident or death, they can be charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the severity of the incident, Moya proposes.

“It is time for our courts to have the tools they need to prosecute effectively and bring justice to the workers who unnecessarily lost their lives,” Moya said in a statement.

The assemblyman announced the bill on the steps of City Hall, flanked by other legislators and union members, Crain’s New York Business has reported.

While courts currently have can companies with crimes, Moya’s bill creates a specific set of violations for the construction industry, triggered whenever a safety rule is not followed. Under the bill, fines for misdemeanors and felonies would increase five-fold to as much as $50,000 per incident.

However, the organization representing New York City’s development industry thinks the legislation is not a good idea.

“Improving safety at construction sites is critical, but this legislation is ill-conceived,” Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) president John Banks III said in a statement.

“It will make the already challenging task of recruiting qualified site safety personnel more difficult. It would shut sites down throughout the city.”

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