The city is offering grants to small construction firms to help defray the costs of new safety training requirements.
The Department of Small Business Services is offering reimbursement of 65 to 100 percent of the direct costs of new training, the agency announced on Wednesday. The grants will be made available to construction companies with one to 15 employees, and city-certified minority/women-owned firms of the same size who operate in the region. According to SBS, the average price of the new training per worker can be as high as $1,500.
News of the grant program comes as the first deadline to complete a portion of the new training draws near. In 2017, the City Council approved Intro 1447, now Local Law 196, which requires a combination of training courses administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — known as OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 — or a 100-hour program approved by the city’s Department of Buildings. Certain supervisors are required to undergo additional hours of training. City officials have twice extended the first deadline to complete at least 30 hours of safety training, most recently to December 1, 2019. The deadline to meet the full 40-hour requirement is still Sept. 1, 2020.
The cost of additional training was a source of controversy in the lead-up to Local 196’s passage. Landlord groups and others claimed the measure would disproportionately burden minority workers and unfairly favored union contractors. Under the law, general contractors are responsible for the costs of the training.