NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio signed Intro 1447-C into law on Monday, October 16.
This construction safety bill will require workers on most construction sites to participate in at least 40 hours of safety training, something that the bill’s supporters said was necessary in order to combat the staggering number of deaths on construction sites in New York
“It’s just not acceptable to lose a life when we could save that life. It’s heartbreaking, it’s painful, it leaves a horrible reality for a family left behind,” de Blasio said at a signing ceremony in the rotunda at City Hall. “And too often these work sites were not managed the way they should have been – bluntly, in the name of greed.”
Opponents of the bill don’t disagree with the need for increased safety measures – instead, they are concerned that the training requirements will be too expensive for a considerable number of construction workers, namely black and Hispanic workers who are less likely to be unionized than their white counterparts.
In order to help prevent people from being left out, the city is committed to investing $5 million towards helping these workers receive the training they need.
“It wasn’t meant to make anyone – to cut anyone out of the construction field,” Bill sponsor Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said of the bill. “It was to make sure that everyone that was here was safe.”
Construction unions celebrated the signing of this bill as a major win for increased safety on construction sites across the city.
"This is not a union or non-union fight,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, said. “This is a fight about going to work in the morning, working safe and going home to your family. This is about dignity in the workplace and this is about human dignity.”