- The Boston City Council has approved a new regulation that will allow city officials to deny, revoke or suspend a building permit based on the contractor’s safety record, according to The Boston Globe.
- Once Boston Mayor Marty Walsh signs the measure, any individual or company applying for a city building permit must submit their record of Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations. The city can then decide whether or not to issue a building permit.
- Walsh proposed the new rule last month after two workers were killed in a trench accident in October. Unbeknownst to the city, their employer, Atlantic Drain Services, reportedly had a long history of safety violations and unpaid OSHA fines.
The city council also passed another ordinance requiring contractors to keep the city up to date with a complete record of open permits or else face denial of new ones.
There is no automatic verification procedure in place for the new rule. Contractors, however, must attest to the truthfulness of their building permit information and statements. If the building department discovers the contractor has not been honest in its reporting, that is grounds for revocation and denial. In addition to contractor safety issues, building trades groups also petitioned the city for increased oversight for the city’s water and sewer projects.
Similar to the concern over the new Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, some contractors could push back against the regulation potentially claiming that the city of Boston took adverse action based on unadjudicated claims or punished the contractor twice for violations that were already settled. Of course, this would depend on the circumstances around denial. The FPSW rule, originally scheduled to into effect in October, was blocked at the last minute by a Texas judge, who issued a preliminary injunction blocking it.