With construction safety serving as the favorite punching bag for legislators of late, the City Council is putting together a torrent of new proposed regulations of the construction industry, with a hearing scheduled tomorrow for 12 bills.
Numerous members of the City Council have called for new steps to ensure safety at construction sites amid the building boom, citing the rising number of construction-related fatalities (13 so far this year, compared with 12 in all of last year), as evidence of need of reforms.
The legislation includes:
- The establishment of an independent monitor to be required to oversee construction activities at sites with repeated hazardous violations
- Increased training for buildings inspectors
- The establishment of a whistleblower hotline for those who see unsafe building conditions
- Required registration of general contractors
- A requirement to post safety signs at work sites
Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said his group was opposing three of the bills: the independent monitor bill, the required registration bill, and legislation that would classify a messy work environment as a safety violation.
“You’ll create a cottage industry that won’t accomplish anything except driving up the cost of construction,” he said of the safety monitor.
Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, who introduced the independent monitor bill, defended it by saying the intent is for the independent monitor to be used in rare instances where safety is repeatedly compromised.
“This would not be implemented in a very large-scale manner,” she said. “The goal is to provide an additional level of scrutiny to sites that have repeatedly hazardous violations.”