New safety standards address rise in NYC construction deaths

New York City has introduced new safety training requirement for construction workers after an increase in deaths.

New York City Council has passed new safety training regulations for construction workers, according to the New York Times. The new regulations, which require most workers on construction sites to undergo 40 hours of safety training, are in response to a dramatic increase in construction-related injuries and deaths in the city in recent years. The regulations were recently approved after eight months of negotiations. An earlier draft of the proposal faced resistance from both real estate and construction industry lobbyists and civil rights activists who argued that it would have disproportionately harmed non-union and immigrant workers.

New safety training regulations

The regulations require almost every worker on a construction site in New York City to undergo 40 hours of safety training. If a construction site is found to be employing workers who have not completed the mandatory training, then fines of up to $25,000 for each untrained worker could be imposed.

An earlier draft of the regulations proposed 59 hours of safety training. However, that proposal encountered stiff opposition from real estate and construction lobbyists, who argued the regulations would put work permits out of reach for too many people, as well as civil rights activists and immigration advocates, who argued that non-union and immigrant workers lacked the resources to be able to access the mandatory training.

To address those concerns, the regulation that was ultimately passed reduced the number of hours workers need to spend undergoing safety training. The final bill also pledges $5 million to help laborers and small contractors get access to safety training that they may otherwise not be able to afford. Finally, workers can remain employed until at least December 2018 so long as they complete the first 10 hours of safety training by March.

Construction accidents are rising

The regulations were introduced following an ongoing increase in construction-related deaths both in New York City and across the state. As the New York Daily News Reports, construction deaths in New York City rose from 17 in 2011 to 25 in 2015, while across the entire state they increased from 33 to 55 during that same period.

As the New York Times points out, construction fatalities have reached their highest point since the city's last construction boom of 2007-08. The current construction boom, however, does not entirely explain why fatalities are so high, since fatalities are growing at a faster rate than new buildings are going up.

Help for injured workers

Workers who have been injured on the job should know that they have options. Many workers, particularly construction workers, are entitled to pursue compensation for injuries that were sustained on the job or that are otherwise related to their work. Making a claim is not always easy, however. A workers compensation attorney can help injured workers understand what compensation they may be able to pursue and how to go about filing a claim.