What does the new construction training law mean for workers?

It's no secret that construction work is among the most dangerous jobs in America. Potential safety hazards manifest themselves every day. Employees, contractors and unions alike must always be vigilant in preventing accidents. With the help of collective bargaining and labor unions, construction workers have been able to secure better safety standards throughout the years, but there is still work to be done.

Construction accidents up in 2017

According to Crain's New York Business, construction and demolition have both increased in New York City this year. However, this rise in activity has also brought a surge in construction accidents. As past OSHA studies indicate, a rise in productivity does often bring an increase in worker injuries. 

From Oct. 2016 to Sept. 2017, job site accidents in NYC rose 18 percent, with more than 600 workers injured on the job. In response, a new law passed by city council this month requires construction workers in NYC to receive additional safety training. The move is seen as a win for unions by both advocates and detractors of the law. What does the training law mean for unions and construction workers around the city?

Here are three key takeaways from the bill:

  • Every construction worker in NYC must receive 40 hours of safety training by March 1.
  • Some union workers are exempt from the additional training if they have taken equivalent courses in the past.
  • The city is contributing money to the training efforts, but many organizations and workers will be responsible for covering the costs of training.

What will be included in the training?

The details of the training as mandated by the city council were not specified by sources. However, taking a look at the top workplace safety violations could give us a clue into what it could include.

Each of the of the top violations in 2017 could affect construction workers in some capacity including:

  • Fall protection requirements for both training and equipment
  • Safety of scaffolding and ladders
  • Machine guarding and electrical wiring methods

With construction accidents on the rise and new training requirements imminent for NYC construction organizations and employees, it is vital to identify safety hazards and how they can be fixed.

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