- Council members of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County proposed a bill this week designed to raise oversight and standards on construction projects funded by the city-county consolidated government, the Tennessean reported.
- The bill was announced Tuesday, on what would have been Gustavo Enrique Ramirez’s 17th birthday. Ramirez died after he fell 11 stories while working a summer job at a Nashville construction site. At 16, Ramirez was too young to be working at height.
- The “Get it Right” bill would set stricter standards for awarding Metro construction contracts, prevent contracting companies with major workplace violations within the last three years and set new standards for safe workplaces while providing incentives to contractors who commit to those standards.
Nashville has an “alarmingly high” injury rate among construction workers, according to the 2017 Build a Better South report. Workplace injuries are a common occurrence for career workers, the report said, as 24% of respondents reported experiencing a construction-related injury on the job. Additionally, in 2020, construction projects were a leading site of COVID-19 clusters in the city, the Tennessean reported. The Metro council is trying to fix that.
Violations that could preclude contractors from winning Metro contracts include:
- Death or serious injury on jobsites.
- Wage theft.
- Lack of clearly written subcontracts.
- Worker misclassification.
- Violations of federal labor and civil rights laws.
The bill also includes sanitation standards — to include bathrooms and handwashing stations at worksites — and employment standards, such as employment for temporary workers who are on site for more than 30 days, on Metro jobsites.
Ramirez died June 23 when he fell from a scaffold at a La Quinta Inn construction project near Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Although he was too young to be working on any roof, Ramirez had received certification for operating a lift. He was working a job for Cortez Plastering.
Nashville is not alone in legislators demanding change to increase safety on construction sites. A Boston city councilor called for a hearing on construction safety this week after two workers were killed when they were struck by a truck while at work. Carlos Gutierrez, 32, and Jordan Romero, 27, were killed at work on a project in Boston’s financial district on Feb. 24.