New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a controversial construction worker safety bill into law on Monday, October 16th. This bill was hotly debated by construction unions who supported the bill and real estate groups and open contractors who opposed it. With NYC seeing an unprecedented spike in the frequency of construction worker injuries and deaths in the past couple of years, it’s clear why the city government felt obligated to make some changes. But what does this bill mean for the employees of one of New York City’s largest industries?
Safety Training For Hardhat Workers
Bill 1447 requires most construction workers to undergo 40 hours of safety training. This includes a 10-hour safety course approved by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) by March 2018 and the remaining 30 hours of safety training by December 2018. Workers who have already completed union apprenticeships or other training programs may be considered exempt from additional training.
According to the NY Daily News, bill sponsor Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said that the city would be contributing $5 million to help pay for employee training, which could help small companies and minority-owned firms meet the requirements without breaking their budgets.
Does This Bill Do Enough To Improve Safety?
This construction safety bill is certainly a step in the right direction, as it’s absolutely crucial to make sure all construction employees are properly trained in safety protocol. But not every construction accident occurs because of worker mistakes. Sometimes, construction site managers and property owners allow work to be done in unsafe conditions where injury hazards are present. For example, the site manager may continue to use poorly maintained or deteriorating equipment which becomes defective and causes an injury.
It’s common for the Department of Buildings to issue partial or full stop-work orders at the sites of serious accidents after multiple safety violations are discovered upon inspection.
Construction unions have rejoiced over the signing of Bill 1447 and expect the bill to drastically cut down on worker injuries and deaths. While this may prove true, construction site managers, contractors, and property owners must continue to make sure their sites are safe for work.
What Are My Rights If I’ve Been Injured While Working Construction?
If you’ve been injured in a construction work accident, it’s important to be aware of your options for financial compensation. In New York, all employees are covered by workers’ compensation. This can provide financial compensation for medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
In some cases, injured construction workers may have the option to file personal injury lawsuits against third parties who contributed to their accident. While you’re usually not permitted to sue a co-worker or your employer, construction sites are made up of several third parties (like independent contractors, other subcontractors, property owners, etc.) who do not share the same employer. If one of these third parties caused you to be injured in an accident caused by their negligence, you could recover additional financial compensation in a lawsuit.