City Council weighs construction safety reform

Queens councilman Rory Lancman is calling the city council to expedite his bill that would increase worker safety on construction sites.

Th Occupational Safety and Health Administration Notification Act, was languishing in the  council until last month’s New York Times article on the increase of deaths on construction sites in New York City.

More than 10 workers have died on construction sites since July 2014 and  injuries and deaths have increased 50% in New York City.

Quoted in the Queens Tribune, Lancman said the problem looms large with non-union and immigrant and minority workers

If you’re a non-union worker, you have no protection from being fired if you refuse to perform a task that is unsafe,” Lancman told the Queens Tribune. “If you refuse to go up on a height without being properly tethered or refused to go into a trench that hasn’t been properly supported, they’ll just throw you off the job site and there’s 50 other guys desperate to fill your place and risk their own personal safety because they have to put food on the table.

The people who are impacted almost heavily by this issue are men of color. If you look at the entire story and you identify who are the victims of these construction accidents, they’re overwhelmingly people of color.

Lancman has some experience in worker safety issues. As an Assemblyman he chaired the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety.

What my bill would do is better coordinate the Department of Buildings which is out on job sites all the time to ensure that building codes are being enforced and in coordination with OSHA.

The bill will require the Department of Buildings to notify the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration of any violations and work related dangers at construction sites in the city. The agency will then be able to inspect the site(s) and demand any changes necessary.




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