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New safety proposal has both fans and detractors

It's a hard argument to make that New York City construction laborers shouldn't receive more than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bare minimum of 10 hours of safety training. Yet that is what some open-shop construction industry leaders did when presented with the New York City Council's draft legislation to require additional safety training for workers.

Once referred to as an apprenticeship mandate, proposed bill 447-A is just one component of the Construction Safety Act legislative package. Should it pass, one requirement is that each laborer at every rank on the job site undergo a minimum of 59 hours of additional safety training.

It also establishes a task force of 14 to implement the new safety regulations. The Mayor and the speaker of the City Council will each get to appoint one-half of the task force, or seven individuals.

Opponents claim that, if passed, the proposal will discourage newcomers to the field of construction. The head of one construction manager alliance group advocates hiring subcontractors whether they are union members or not.

As president of the New York Construction Alliance (NYCA), the official wants the bill to pass review by the city's Independent Budget Office (IBO) prior to being put before the council for a vote. The objective, he stated, was to make sure jobs weren't adversely affected.

On the other hand, the head of the region's Building and Construction Trades Council, who speaks for over 100,000 union members said the time for studies has passed, and [workers] "need action." He mentioned the 34 construction workers who died in on-the-job accidents in the past two years.

Those who get hurt on the job, or non-workers who are injured collaterally in construction accidents can pursue claims for compensation.

Source: Commercial Observer, "New Construction Safety Bill Draft Slammed by Open-Shop Reps, Union Cheers," Liam La Guerre, July 26, 2017

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