Construction workers understand that their work involves risks. After all, this work involves a considerable amount of physical exertion on sites that are always changing – and not always on solid ground.
That is why safety must always be a priority on construction sites. And now that it is 2020, that priority is essentially a legal requirement.
Local law ensures safety training for construction work
In 2017, New York City established Local Law 196 to enhance the standards of safety training for construction workers. The new law requires workers to obtain 40 hours of training by:
- Receiving 30 hours of safety training by December 1, 2019, for a limited Site Safety Training (SST) card; and
- Completing 10 additional hours of safety training to obtain an SST card by September 1, 2020.
All of the training includes courses on:
- Fall prevention;
- Supported scaffold user refreshers;
- Drug and alcohol awareness; and
- Electives including electrocution prevention, asbestos awareness and first aid.
According to the law, workers will have to receive eight hours of training to renew their SST cards every five years.
What led to these safety training requirements?
Unfortunately, it is no secret that construction is the deadliest industry in New York City, and it has been for years. WLNY News reported that:
- Deaths on construction sites increased by 33% in the last five years, with an average of 20 fatalities each year;
- Injuries on construction sites have increased by an alarming 221% in five years; and
- On top of that, a quarter of the roughly 45,000 construction sites in the city are noncompliant with safety requirements.
Workers report that these sites are noncompliant because supervisors will cut corners – including skipping safety training and providing workers with forged SST cards – to get jobs done faster. They then pressure workers to prioritize speed over safety to meet strict deadlines. This only results in workers facing more risks.
That is why there have been such strong efforts to increase safety training standards, as well as the enforcement of those standards. The hope is that the training requirements under Local Law 196 will help make construction sites safer and reduce the high rate of worker injuries and deaths.