The City Council will vote on a bill Thursday that would put off new construction safety training requirements for another six months.
The bill would extend the deadline for new safety requirements from Sept. 1 to March 1, 2021, when workers would have to show they underwent 40 hours of mandated training. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Robert Cornegy are the bill sponsors.
“Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis has impacted the ability of construction workers to complete the training requirement,” Cornegy said during an Aug. 18 hearing. “With in-person courses becoming unavailable and a limited number of course providers able to conduct trainings remotely, many construction workers may be unable to complete the training requirements by Sept. 1.”
An earlier deadline for completing a portion of the new safety requirements, mandated by Local Law 196, was already extended twice. The city at the time said the delay was due to an insufficient capacity to train construction workers. The measure was a point of tension between union and non-union workers, because many union workers already meet the safety requirements and are exempt from the additional training requirements.
The 2017 law was largely a response to an increase in construction worker fatalities, and required construction workers to complete safety courses administered by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The deadline for completing the first 30 hours of training was Dec. 1, 2019.
The bill to push back the date for completing the remaining training hours came after most construction sites in the city were shut down between March and June.