Unions, open-shop builders and developers are expected to clash as New York City’s Housing and Buildings Committee of the City Council will hear 21 bills related to construction safety.
The bills would increase penalties for certain violations, require site-safety plans at buildings four stories and higher and—most controversially—mandate worker training programs.
Six of the bills relate to the use of cranes, including phasing older cranes out of service and imposing more restrictions when conditions are windy. One measure, which compels the Department of Buildings to track incidents that result in fatalities or hospitalization, was prompted by a Crain’s investigation that revealed the city does not tally all construction deaths.
OSHA counted 17 worker deaths in 2015 and 14 in 2016 in the city. The city Buildings Department counted 11 plus one civilian death in each year. Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera attributes this primarily to a lack of training.
The hearings are expected to draw a crowd. LaBarbera will likely bring several thousand friends in hard hats to rally at lunchtime.