Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a new law that requires all construction workers in New York City to complete at least 40 to 55 hours of safety training.
The law came as a response to a more than 18 percent increase in construction-related injuries during this fiscal year. The total injuries rose from 526 to 622. Eight construction workers have died on jobsites in the city this year, and there have been 39 total deaths since 2014.
The city already has some safety regulations in place. Under these rules, all workers on projects that are 10 stories tall or higher must have at least 10 hours of safety training. Now, workers at all types of construction projects must complete 10 hours of safety training before March 1, 2018, then at least another 30 hours by December 1, 2018.
Extensions are available when absolutely necessary, and some union workers who have already completed safety training courses will not have to retake those courses. Otherwise, these regulations apply to all construction workers without exception.
The bill was met some opposition by various groups in the city. They included the Real Estate Board of New York, which said it favored union workers over non-union workers, as unions are able to pay for safety training for members. These groups argue that the new law will force non-union workers to find and pay for their own safety courses, which could make it harder for them to find work.
For its part, the city is allocating $5 million toward initial safety training from 22 training providers who will be available to offer courses. The bill will also develop a program that provides equal access to construction site safety training. Violations of the law could result in fines of up to $25,000.
Despite the opposition, the bill passed smoothly in the New York City Council with a 42-0 vote. Its passage was perhaps made easier after several recent work site deaths that occurred this fall. The law goes into effect immediately, and details regarding training levels and fines will be phased in by March.
What to do if you’ve been in a construction accident
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you basically have two options for how you can proceed: file a workers’ compensation claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are only best in cases in which the accident that caused your injury was a result of another party’s negligence. For example, if a construction company did not provide you with the proper safety equipment and it directly led to your injury, the company could be considered liable.
Workers’ compensation claims are for situations in which an injury was simply an accident and not a result of any party’s negligence. Any on-the-job injury will allow you to make a workers’ compensation claim, so long as you follow the proper reporting and filing processes.
If you have questions about how you should proceed after a serious construction site accident, speak with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn.