Changes Coming to Increase Training for NYC Construction Workers

NYC, NY – Unarmed security guards need at least 24 hours of training to work in New York. Security and fire alarm installers need 81 hours. A real estate salesperson needs 75 hours of training to get a license, and another 22.5 hours to renew it.

But to work construction on a building over 10 stories in New York City, you only need 10 hours of training – and working on a smaller building doesn’t require any training at all.

According to a report in City and State, NY, from 2007 to 2014, an average of 20 construction workers were killed on the job each year in the city, according to city figures. By most measures, construction is the deadliest job in New York – shown clearly on Sept. 21, when two construction workers died in separate accidents while working on high-rises.

A construction safety bill before the New York City Council has been among the most acrimonious in recent memory, pitting some of the city’s most powerful interests against each other.

The bill, expected to pass this week, would mandate anywhere between 40 to 55 hours of training for construction workers in the city, with the final number to be determined by a Site Safety Training Taskforce with representation from union laborers, non-union laborers, racial minority- or women-owned businesses, and day laborers.

According to the report, the law would be phased in over time, with the full training not required until at least 2020. The bill also includes $5 million in funding, mostly going to community groups that coordinate safety training for low-income workers.