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Controversial New Bill Requiring Safety Training for Construction Workers Passed Into Law

The New York City Council recently voted to change the city’s safety and training laws for construction workers, a profession that saw an average of 20 people die on the job every year between 2007 and 2014.

Before this bill was voted into law, construction workers were only required to go through 10 hours of safety training in order to work on buildings taller than 10 stories. At the same time, real estate salespeople require 75 hours of training, fire and security alarm installers require 81 hours of training, and unarmed security guards require 24 hours of training.

Construction jobs are arguably the most dangerous in the city, and something needed to change to protect these workers. The New York City Council introduced Intro 1447-C, a safety bill that would require construction workers to participate in anywhere from 40 to 55 hours of training, but the exact number would be determined at a later date by a Site Safety Training Taskforce. The City Council unanimously approved this bill on Wednesday, September 27.

“This vote means that New York City hard hats will get the safety training they need for one of our city’s most dangerous jobs, and that will help get them home to their families at night and keep construction sites safe for everyone,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The updated version of the bill includes $5 million in funding, mostly to provide community groups with the funds to coordinate safety training for low-income workers. The law will not go into full effect until 2020.

The updated safety standards will hopefully help save lives, but a considerable amount of work will still need to be done to ensure that the entire construction workforce in New York City has equal access to training.

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