The New York City Council Committee on Economic Development today holds a hearing on bill 1169-2013, which would set worker training and transparency requirements for certain city development projects receiving city financial assistance.
“This hearing is both timely and necessary,” says Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate at Public Citizen, an advocacy organization. Wrightson will testify in favor of the measure at the hearing.
During 2011 and 2012, 36 New York City construction industry workers were killed on the job. These fatal injuries imposed an estimated cost of $187.2 million on New York City’s economy. Wrightson notes that the construction activity is robust because the industry is undergoing a strong recovery in the city, following the 2008 recession.
In 2011, there were 16 construction fatalities; eight construction workers died from slips, trips and falls, five from contact with an object or equipment, and three from other hazards. In 2012, construction industry fatalities rose to 20. Eight workers died from slips, trips and falls, eight from crushing/collapse and four from contact with an object or equipment.
Although on-the-job safety training has been proven to reduce construction industry injuries and fatalities, existing NYC laws mandate only that it be provided by employers operating under city contracts.
The city also funds construction projects through “public benefit corporations”-- entities that publicly finance projects through tax incentive financing. But these projects lack the same worker training requirements as projects under city contractors.