A proposal that would provide construction workers in New York City with at least 40 hours of safety training inched closer to reality, following the City Council’s passage of a bill.
The bill met staunch opposition from the real estate sector, which cited the high cost of admitting workers into safety classes. On the other hand, labor unions have lobbied for the proposal, amid the rising number of fatalities at construction sites.
The bill has gone through several changes before the City Council’s approval. It originally intended workers to sign up for an apprenticeship.
However, opponents said that it would offer an unfair advantage to unions that would manage such apprenticeships, amid some contractors hiring non-unionized employees.
Under the final version, they would not require workers with previous apprenticeship to undergo safety training classes, if the council deemed their learning to be extensive.
The bill would also let workers begin working on-site after a 10-hour initial training, and they can complete the remaining hours while on the job.
Construction companies typically use safety equipment, including vehicles with a tow truck led strobe light bar you can get from firms such as ledequipped.com and warning signs, to prevent untoward incidents.
Despite the presence of these resources at the jobsite, some issues such as sleep-deprived workers could be contributing to the safety problem.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo began a study in August 2015 to find out how tired workers could be a liability. Lora Cavuoto, one of the study’s researchers, said that safety programs should place an increased focus on fatigue due to the difficulty of recognizing it when it takes place at work.
The City Council’s decision to pass the proposal represented a win for workplace safety advocates and construction unions. It remains to be seen, however, if the added safety training would curb the number of deaths at construction sites.