Many construction companies take safety very seriously. There are also many that don’t. Construction worker deaths in New York hit a 14-year high in 2016. A study put out by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) found that there were 71 construction worker deaths in 2016. That was up from 55 deaths in 2015. In the face of regular worker deaths and an increase in workplace injuries, New York City has decided to require safety training for all of the 185,000 plus construction workers in the city.
In 2017, the New York City Council enacted Local Law 196, which establishes construction safety training requirements and programming. The law affects permit holders, owners, and workers. By 2019, all workers must have a minimum of 40 hours of safety training. Supervisors will be required to have a minimum of 60 hours of training. Classroom or actively proctored online safety training can be used to fulfill the requirement. Training should consist of many aspects of construction site safety, including topics such as “fall protection” and “handling heavy materials and lifting techniques.” When training is completed, a worker will obtain a Site Safety Training (SST) card. Permit holders are required to keep daily logs, including copies of the SST card of every worker on the site.
The city can deny or hold back permits for work if the employer can’t prove that all of the workers on a project have the required training. A permit holder who does not meet the safety training requirements faces a fine of at least $5,000. There are also civil penalties for failure to maintain a daily log.
What Effect Will These New Requirements Have on Worker Injuries?
While it remains to be seen whether the new law will truly impact the number of construction injuries and deaths, we can look at the differences between union and non-union construction sites to get an idea of the effect increased training requirements have on safety. Union sites have proven to be safer than non-union sites. According to the NYCOSH study, 95% of the deaths on private sector sites occurred on non-union construction sites in 2016. Hiring freezes at the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have led to fewer inspections on non-union sites. Unions have higher safety training standards for construction workers, often require workers to undergo an apprenticeship before they’re on the job, and always have a shop steward present at the job site. Unions are also more likely to report safety violations on job sites. This all leads to increased protection for workers. This paints a hopeful picture for a decrease in worker injuries to accompany the new safety training requirements.
If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New York construction workers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule a free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla Español