Opponents slam proposed NYC construction bill

In a recent post, we introduced the Construction Safety Act, a package of New York City Council legislation purported to be an important construction safety measure. Indeed, with construction-related fatalities climbing almost daily in New York, virtually anyone can agree that something must be done. However, different players in the industry disagree about this particular bill.

Some, particularly those affiliated with unions, praise the bill’s requirement for additional safety training. However, many others doubt that the proposed law will make a meaningful difference when it comes to work safety.

Is the burden too high?

If the bill is passed, it would require all New York City construction workers to undergo at least 59 hours of safety training, according to the Commercial Observer. At more than a full week of work, that far exceeds the current 10-hour requirement from OSHA. Some experts worry that such a high requirement will deter workers from entering the industry at all, despite the city’s ongoing demand for workers.

Will more training really help?

New York’s construction workers are some of the finest in the world – they have to be in order to maintain the city that never sleeps on a fast-paced schedule. Some opponents of the bill argue that requiring more training does little to protect workers’ safety, particularly when most of the hazards on construction sites are preventable with other measures.

The leading cause of injury and death on construction sites is falls and falling objects. No amount of safety training is going to remove these risks – but taking certain accident-proofing measures could minimize the threat. Some safety advocates want to know why these solutions aren’t a part of the City Council’s bill – and wonder whether unions are exerting pressure to favor union-led training over practical site-securing measures.