City Council Introduces Construction Safety Act
New York, New York – Council Member Ben Kallos introduced The Construction Safety Act at yesterday's stated meeting, two bills designed to ensure New York City maintains the most stringent construction safety regulations in the nation. The Construction Safety Act, Intro 298, co-sponsored by Council Members Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Vincent Gentile, Antonio Reynoso and Ruben Wills, and Intro 299, co-sponsored by Council Members Peter Koo, Rory I. Lancman, Stephen Levin, Mark Levine, Alan Maisel, I. Daneek Miller, Ydanis Rodriguez and Donovan Richards, will seek to maintain the high safety standards that improved significantly after two 2008 collapses. During the final months of the Bloomberg administration the Department of Buildings introduced new regulations to weaken these standards.
The Cranes Bill specifies that New York City government continues to administer the licensing exam rather than private companies and that operators have local experience, and the Rigging Bill ensures that a Master Rigger with five years of experience can’t be replaced by a so-called “competent person” with a 32-hour course.
“We must never sacrifice safety for corporate profits: A human life is priceless. With so much construction hanging hundreds of feet above our heads, New Yorkers must know that we have the highest safety standards anywhere in the nation,” said Kallos.
“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of Intro 299 which will ensure New York City will maintain the highest safety standards for crane and hoisting operations anywhere in the country. As a co-sponsor of similar crane safety legislation which under the previous administration never reached the Council floor, I am now certain that these issues concerning the safety of all New Yorkers will finally get the consideration they deserve," said Deputy Leader Council Member Vincent Gentile.
“Clearly Council Member Kallos and others in the council recognize the unique challenges of crane operations in New York City. This legislation will not only ensure the safety within our construction sites, but will protect the millions of men, women, children and families who live, work and travel within our city.” said IUOE Local 14 President Ed Christian.
Greg Galasso, Executive Director of the NYC Master Riggers Association, said, “We are grateful to Council Member Kallos and his Council colleagues for recognizing that when it comes to construction safety and regulation, we simply cannot afford to move backward. New York City residents should be confident that the construction hoisting taking place high over their heads is being done by the most qualified, most experienced and most accountable individuals possible, and we’re confident that Intro. 298 will correct the mistakes made in last year’s code revision.”
The Rigging Bill removes exemptions that will allow a licensed master rigger with a minimum of 5 years documented experience to be replaced by a “competent person” with no more than a 32 hour training course and the most critical hoisting activities to be supervised by individuals with less training than a highly-trained rigger. The bill will also update the 1960s-era language which only requires licensed riggers for hoisting “tanks and boilers,” and instead stipulates that qualified riggers must hoist modern equipment such as generators, transformers and HVAC equipment weighing over one ton. The Cranes Bill will require that the city administer tests which exceed existing national standards, rather than for-profit companies, and that Class A and B crane operators must have a minimum of two years local New York City experience. The bills will now be referred to committee for hearing.###