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Deadline looms for construction worker safety training

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is reminding the construction and development industry of the upcoming deadline for construction workers on large work sites in New York City to obtain Site Safety Training (SST) cards, signifying the successful completion of at least 40 hours of mandatory construction safety training.

Currently, all construction workers on the over 4,600 SST work sites spread across the city are already required to have at least 30 hours of safety training. By March 1, 2021, these same workers must have completed an additional 10 hours of training, for a total of 40 hours, in order to continue working on these larger and more complex work sites. DOB-approved training providers have already issued over 110,000 SST cards to construction workers and DOB-licensed safety professionals working in New York City. A product of Local Law 196 of 2017, SST is a first-of-its-kind training requirement for construction workers in the city aimed at reducing preventable construction-related injuries by providing workers with practical safety education.   

“Site Safety Training is key to preventing unsafe conditions on construction sites, and has been instrumental in helping us achieve the historic drop in injuries these last two years,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “Don’t hesitate – get your training in as soon as possible, because everyone who steps foot on a work site in the morning deserves to safely return to their families in the evening.” 

There were 502 construction-related injuries in New York City on building work sites in 2020, down 34% from the 761 construction-related injuries in 2018, the year construction workers in the city were first required to take safety training courses in order to work on large work sites. During this same time, New York City saw a decrease in construction-related fatalities, with eight deaths in 2020, down 33% from 12 deaths in 2018. 

To meet the upcoming final training requirement deadline, construction workers can obtain safety training from any of the over 100 DOB-approved course providers, which can be sorted by location using our interactive course provider map. Many of these courses are taught online and are available in multiple languages commonly spoken on New York City construction sites. The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) also runs a Construction Site Safety Grant Program, available to small businesses and individuals to help offset the cost of these mandatory training classes. The exact locations of all of the permitted construction sites in New York City where SST is required can be found using our interactive SST work site map.  

In the years since the passage of Local Law 196 of 2017, the Department has conducted extensive outreach to the construction and development industry about these training requirements. These efforts include online worker safety sessions, in-person stakeholder information sessions, multilingual press interviews with the media, multilingual advertisements in dozens of community newspapers, a system-wide subway ad campaign, direct worker outreach at work sites by DOB construction inspectors and staff from the Department’s Community Engagement Unit, a food truck tour of construction sites citywide, a detailed webpage dedicated to information on Local Law 196 site safety training, a television broadcast PSA campaign, and direct mailings to all DOB-licensed safety professionals and permit holders whose work requires Local Law 196 trained workers. More information about SST can be found by visiting our website.   

“Equity of opportunity is at the core of our work at SBS, and that includes helping our small construction businesses keep their workers safe on site”, said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “Our Construction Site Safety Program will offer grants to small construction firms to provide necessary training to their workers, and help them efficiently operate in this key economic sector.”

“We are nearing the deadline and the goals we set to help protect the workers who build our city, regardless of status or affiliation by mandating a minimum number of site safety training hours. These trainings provide tools and information to give some security to workers and their families that they will come home safe at the end of the day. There is still a great deal to be done to rebuild an eroded culture of safety that stems from the top of the industry, but equipping workers with this safety training is a crucial goal I’ve been proud to champion for years alongside Council Member Menchaca and in collaboration with the Department of Buildings and so many organizational leaders,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams.

“The safety of construction workers matter. For too long, we just somehow accepted injuries in the construction industry, but luckily those days are over. The Department of Buildings is leading the way for new safety measures, and I encourage companies and individuals to do their part. I join Commissioner Melanie La Rocca in urging all employers to ensure that their workers get their SST cards as soon as possible,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“Most accidents at construction sites are entirely preventable, and that’s why this initiative is so important,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee. “The commitment that the city has made to safety training at construction sites is commendable, effectively reducing accidents and injuries and making construction sites safer for construction workers and members of the public. I urge everyone in the industry to get their SST cards before the deadline.”

“The pandemic has reinforced how essential safety protocols are to the success of the construction industry, and more importantly, to the wellbeing and health of construction workers,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “Since 2017, Local Law 196 has served a crucial role in keeping construction workers safe by enhancing training and site safety awareness at construction sites across the five boroughs. It is certainly welcome and encouraging news that all men and women working on large-scale construction sites will soon have completed at least forty hours of rigorous safety training. We look forward to continuing to work with the New York City Department of Buildings to ensure that safety in the construction industry is always paramount.”

“The BTEA and it’s 1,100 member contractors have been training our workforce to make sure we meet our final training date in March,” said Louis Coletti, President and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association. “We see great improvements in the safety culture around New York City. We will continue to work with our partners in the industry and with the Department to get all workers trained.”

“AGCNYS applauds DOB efforts on completing the Herculean task of standing up a program to train the city’s construction workers and management. We also applaud the City’s many training outlets who continue to offer the required training, especially during these times when in person training had to be modified. Safety is the top priority for our industry and is an obligation we all share,” said Mike Elmendorf, President & CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGCNYS).

“The dramatic drop in construction related injuries demonstrates how a commitment to safety by the Department of Buildings and the contractor community is paying huge dividends,” said Brian Sampson, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State Chapter. “With the SST deadline just 30 days away, we encourage all contractors to take advantage of the time and get their employees fully trained. This is a time for us to continue to aggressively push forward and demonstrate to the country our collective commitment to making safety for all a top priority.”

“The Queens & Bronx Building Association (“QBBA”) is enthusiastic about the final implementation of Local Law 196 of 2017,” said George Poulon, QBBA President. “QBBA has been a leader in worker safety and as the final training deadline approaches, our members have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that their workers have received sufficient training to meet the requirements passed in 2017 which are among the highest in the nation. We once again applaud DOB on taking the initiative to make our industry safer for all.”

“The BIANYC applauds Commissioner La Rocca and the NYC Department of Buildings for keeping NYC’s construction workers’ safety at the forefront of their agenda!” said Building Industry Alliance of New York Executive Officer Jessica Fortino.

“REBNY members are committed to prioritizing construction safety and continue to work closely with the City and other stakeholders to keep workers and employers informed about the need to secure SST training in a timely manner,” said James Whelan, President of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).“We welcome DOB’s continued focus on safety as the development and construction industries continue to play a crucial role in New York City’s economy.”

“The wellbeing of our workforce is paramount, and Building Congress members strive to provide the highest level of safety on their sites. We look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner La Rocca and her team,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, New York Building Congress.

“The hardworking men and women in the construction industry deserve sites that are safe,” said Jolie Milstein, President and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “We encourage every employer to help ensure their workforce gets their SST cards by the deadline to ensure sites are safe for those on the front lines.”

“On behalf of the Construction Safety Advisory Committee of NY, we applaud Commissioner La Rocca and DOB for raising the bar on construction safety, said James Bifulco, President, CSACNY. “As we approach the March 1stdeadline, we at CSACNY urge everyone to complete the final 10 hours of training. Doing so ensures you have all the knowledge and training needed to work safely and therefore protect yourselves, your co-workers and members of the public. As Site Safety Professionals and Safety Training Providers, we know proper training is vital to ensure workers make it home to their loved ones at the end of each day. We’re proud to have worked with DOB and the City Council on Local Law 196, and look forward to continuing to find new ways to protect workers and the public.”

“We are working diligently with the NYC Department of Buildings to ensure that all workers are trained before the March 1, 2021 deadline and are doing everything that we can to provide these trainings during a pandemic,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety (NYCOSH). “We encourage workers to reach out to us or other authorized providers if they need this life-saving training or other support.”

“Ensuring construction workers receive proper safety training is not only critical to their well-being and job security, but it is also a key step toward the city’s economic recovery,” said David Meade, Executive Director of Building Skills New York. “Making safety courses easily accessible to our participants is a key component of our mission to connect New Yorkers to construction opportunities. We applaud the training partners and candidates who, even amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prioritized meeting the March 1 SST deadline. With 30 days to go until we hit that date, we appreciate DOB highlighting the importance of obtaining the SST card, especially for newer entrants to the industry.”

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