Members of the NY City Council, lead by Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are on track to introduce 18 pieces of legislation as a precautionary measure to prevent against future construction-related deaths and injuries, which have been on the rise since the city’s recent increase in building projects.
The legislation, known as the Construction Safety Act is spearheaded by Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and will focus on crane operation and licensing. It is hoped that the new rules will call for stricter monitoring of licensing and increase regulatory protocols at smaller sites, where the majority of accidents tend to occur. The new legislation will also increase penalties for breaking the law.
Mayor Bill De Blasio will likely be opposed to the initiative because he is known for his skepticism on the practical implementation of regulatory practices outside the outfit of construction worker unions. He has already addressed the lack of pragmatism on the part of the city council, which is hoping to enact laws that will make apprenticeship programs mandatory for construction workers.
DeBlasio responded to the initiative by questioning how realistic it would be to implement. “Everyone knows I prefer union labor and I’m a big fan of apprenticeship programs De Blasio said. "I don’t think a requirement works practically speaking, I think the more we could do, the better, so I encourage it. I want to support the maximum use of it, but it’s not going to solve the problem anytime soon because there are always going to be some nonunion sites and that’s where our stricter regulation is going to make a real impact.”
The bills are scheduled to be introduced at a January 18th meeting of the full council and will be sponsored by Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito along with 13 other council members and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Viverito has said of the legislation that "The Construction Safety Act will not only help prevent accidents, it will make sure that contractors who violate site safety laws are held fully accountable.”
The recent construction boom has been correlated with a rise in the number of fatalities and construction related injuries. Over the past two years, there have been 31 estimated deaths that have been construction related according to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “There is no other industry where workers die at such an alarming rate without significant preventative recourse...it is the responsibility of the developers and the construction companies to ensure there is an atmosphere of safety at construction sites. The Construction Safety Act will help government do its part in ensuring this atmosphere of safety truly exists by reducing safety violations and strengthening crane regulations.”
By: Michaela Cortney