Monday, October 9, 2017

New York City Bill Orders Mandatory OSHA Classes for Workers

New York City Council approves a bill mandating 40-hour safety training
courses for construction workers - but not without controversy.

On Wednesday, September 27, New York City Council approved a bill requiring construction workers to receive at least 40 hours of safety training. A contentious decision, the bill has drawn both praise and criticism from industry leaders.

The bill, Intro 1447, seeks to address the rise of construction-related deaths in New York over the past few years. From 2015 through September 2017, there have been more than 40 deaths at job sites in New York City.

According to legislation, workers must complete 40 hours of safety training by December 2018 - but the Department of Buildings may extend the deadline to September 2020 if they determine there aren’t enough training facilities to accommodate workers. The training will be broken up so that by March 2018, all workers must have completed a 10-hour OSHA course; workers then proceed to a 30-hour OSHA course.

The only exceptions are workers who have completed a 40-hour training in the past five years, or workers who have completed a 100-hour safety training course - often required by apprenticeship programs.

The bill has been criticized by nonunion groups and developers as well as real estate industry members: critics say the bill unfairly advantages union labor. Critics further argue that the bill would burden minorities; The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) posited that minorities may not be able to afford classes or find any in their language.

However, New York City Council contends that mandatory safety education can prevent job site accidents. Construction industry leaders agree that the bill is necessary for New York City - one of the most prolific construction markets in the world. Council members have criticized groups - particularly REBNY - in opposition of the bill for spreading false information.

"Every step of the way, they complained [and] they lobbied," Jumaane Williams, New York City Council member and sponsor of Intro 1447, said in a recent press conference.

Although debate over the bill continues, New York industry workers should ultimately prepare to comply with the new legislation.

To learn more about Intro 1447, visit the legislation details. To learn more about OSHA and register for a 10-Hour or 30-Hour course, visit Zack Academy's OSHA homepage.

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