NYC council committee approves six of 21 construction safety bills

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Jumaane Williams
New York City Council member Jumaane Williams. (NYCC/William Alatriste)

New York City Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee has approved six of 21 construction-safety bills, with more to follow, including a contentious apprenticeship bill, CityLand reports.

Committee chair Jumaane Williams said at the committee’s April 24 meeting that the committee expects to approve some of the remaining 15 bills including controversial 1147-21017, which would require all construction workers citywide to participate in an apprenticeship program or have commensurate work experience.

“We cannot simply just say because we are building more we should expect more injuries and deaths,” Williams said. “I do think we moved a little slowly as a city on the amount of people who died, but I am glad we are moving at the pace we are now.”

“I hope to continue working with my colleagues in the council to ensure better and more robust safety regulations for this important industry,” council member Margaret Chin, who sponsored one of the bills.

Two of the bills approved at the meeting related to reporting requirements of construction sites.

Bill  Introduction 081-2014 requires the NYC Department of Buildings (NYCDB) to report to OSHA any violations of the City’s Construction Code that potentially endangers workplace safety. Further, NYCDB would be required to report to the mayor and the speaker of the city council on those reports.

Intro. 1433-2017 expands the information that must be reported when an accident that results in an injury or fatality occurs at a construction site. A minimum civil penalty of $2,500 would be applied for failing to report the information to the Department of Buildings.

Three of the bills approved related to crane operations. Intro. 1421-2017 requires all mobile cranes to be equipped with a GPS or similar device in order to transmit the location of cranes to the NYCDB. When a crane does not have a GPS,  NYCDB must be notified of the crane’s arrival and departure from a construction site. Intro. 1446-2017 requires hoisting machine operators to have a license rating in order to operate certain large cranes. The licensing rating can be obtained through demonstration by operation, practical exam, or completion of simulator training. Intro. 1435-2017 requires all cranes to be equipped with event recorders to collect information on: crane configurations, any overload condition, status of limit switches, and operator overrides. This information must be available to the NYCDB upon request.

Another bill related to construction safety plans. Intro. 1448-2017 requires that buildings under construction that are more than four stories in height retain a construction superintendent. Further, the bill requires that such construction sites have a safety plan created and on site.