- The New York City Department of Buildings announced earlier this month that it has extended the deadline by which all workers must complete 30 hours of construction safety training from Dec. 1, 2018, to June 1, 2019.
- According to the department's service update, supervisors will need 62 hours of training by the new June deadline and workers must take an additional 10 hours (for a total of 40 hours) by Sept. 1, 2020. Workers can meet the requirement by completing a 30-hour OSHA training course; a 10-hour OSHA class with 20 hours of additional training (eight hours of fall prevention training, an eight-hour site safety manager refresher and four hours of scaffold training); a DOB-approved 100-hour training course; or via prior experience plus four hours of additional training for both fall prevention and scaffold training.
- The department provided no reason for the delay in it service update, but, according to The Real Deal, the city determined that the number of providers was not sufficient to meet demand. Instead of imposing fines and penalties and potentially shutting down jobsites, building officials decided to extend the deadline. "This doesn't change the end result in terms of what the legislation was seeking," Louis Coletti, head of the Building Trades Employers' Association of New York City, told Crain's New York Business. "But it provides a more reasoned approach on how to get there in a way that won't be disruptive."
The final version of the new law is a milder version of what was first introduced by New York City lawmakers. In response to increasing construction worker injuries and deaths amid a major uptick in building activity, city officials instigated a series of reforms, including the requirement that workers complete 59 hours of safety training and an apprenticeship program or its equivalent.
Companies in the city's nonunion construction sector pushed back against the apprenticeship requirement,with some arguing that unions sponsored nearly 50% of such programs in New York City to boost their own membership. Lawmakers gave up on that element of their plan and eventually reduced the total required training hours to 40. However, some nonunion developers and construction companies have complained that even the 40-hour mandate will be a financial drain on small businesses.
Meanwhile, city construction accidents continue to rise. In September, the DOB's data indicated that construction-related accidents, injuries and fatalities in New York City increased in the first seven months of 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017. The number of accidents rose more than 18% (from 386 to 457) in that time frame while the number of injuries increased by approximately 17% from 401 to 469. The number of construction-related deaths doubled from four to eight.