A measure that will require contractors to retain construction superintendents for all major projects at buildings over three stories is among the 14 pieces of legislation signed into law May 10 by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Several are related to construction safety and construction cranes.
“Today we have a mix of bills that improve transparency and public access to information, help create a more equitable and accessible city, increase construction safety, as well as bills involving the web portal used by vendors who do business with the city of New York,” de Blasio said. “I would like to thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the sponsors of these bills for continuing the fight for transparency, equity, accessibility, and safety for all New Yorkers.”
The speaker said the City Council “is proud to support our local vendors and emergency personnel, among the many other residents who will be positively impacted by the legislation being signed this afternoon. Whether it is the construction workers gaining proper safety oversight for their work zones or the parents of small children who will now be equipped with enhanced college savings information, New Yorkers of all kinds stand to benefit from the outcomes of these initiatives. I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing these essential measures into law today.”
One bill, Intro. 81-A, requires the Department of Buildings (DOB) to notify OSHA about construction code violations that may endanger workers.
“If New York City is going to prevent another 33 construction worker fatalities over the next two years, we need to make sure that the Buildings Department is communicating with OSHA about violations that could jeopardize worker safety. We cannot solve the problem if the left hand is not working together with the right hand,” explained Council Member Rory I. Lancman.
Intro. 1433-A requires the department to list online the injuries and fatalities that have occurred on a construction site.
“Every injury and every death on a construction site must be counted regardless of a violation — whether a construction worker or member of the public, everyone must be counted. By counting every injury and death, we'll be able to see who is getting hurt, where, and why so that we as a city can make construction safer. We must count every life,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “While Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Department of Buildings count injuries and deaths in a different way, the city will count everyone, requiring reporting within 72 hours about contractors, the incident, nature of work, hours on the job, injuries, who was hurt, collective bargaining rights of those injured, details on the site, and more, with fines of up to $25,000 and daily fines of as much as $1,000 for those who fail to report.”
Intro. 1446-A requires Class-B hoisting machine operators to get a license rating to use certain cranes, while Intro. 1421-A requires certain cranes to have GPS or other locating devices or for DOB to be notified when these cranes are moved on or off a work site, and Intro. 1435-A requires certain cranes to be equipped with data-logging equipment to record operations and work conditions.
“The one thing all construction workers have in common, whether union or non-union, is that they go into work every day because they are trying to feed their families,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, who chairs the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “Just because we are experiencing a construction boom in the city, it doesn't mean that we have to sacrifice safety precautions to keep up with the pace. Intros 1446 and 1448 moves us in the right direction in minimizing harm to workers and the public, by requiring safety plans and a safety monitoring program at construction sites and by strengthening licensing requirements for crane operators.
These bills are for all of the workers who didn't make it home after a day on their job site. My hope is that with due diligence and oversight, we can prevent one more family from losing a loved one.”