Mayor de Blasio Approves New Law Requiring Safety Training for Construction Workers
In October 2017, in response to a surge in worksite accidents and job-related deaths, Mayor Bill de Blasio approved legislation drafted by the City Council to mandate 40 hours of safety training for construction workers. According to the New York Post, a recent Mayor’s Management Report estimated the increase in worker injuries at 18 percent this year, a rise the mayor blamed on worksites that “were not managed the way they should have been.” The New York Times quoted Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, hailing the law’s passing as “a historic moment in the progressive fight for a safer workplace.” But not everyone is happy with new mandate.
Opponents claim the new law favors unions and union workers, because unions run most training programs and subsidize training for their workers, and many of their workers would be exempt from the requirements. On the other hand, nonunion workers, who are lower wage earners, would have to pay out of pocket for the training. There are also requirements that workers get refresher training, and this requirement would more likely affect nonunion workers, who often work more sporadically as day laborers.
The law attempted to address this issue by providing $5 million to pay for workers who might not be able to afford the training. But a vocal opponent of the law, John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said that $5 million would not be sufficient for all the workers who cannot afford the training and would put thousands of construction workers out of a job. Developers who try to skirt the law by hiring untrained workers would face fines of $25,000 for each violation.
At Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson, our New York City construction accident lawyers protect the rights of injured workers. If you’ve been hurt in a worksite accident, call us at 888.746.8212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.