FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS THREE BILLS ENHANCING SAFETY FOR SUSPENDED SCAFFOLD WORKERS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The first package of bills before me today is the result of recommendations made by the Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force, a group created by our Administration to develop concrete steps to minimize the number of suspended scaffold-related injuries and to develop effective outreach strategies to inform suspended scaffold workers of safe work practices and the dangers of non-compliance.
"Introductory Number 522, sponsored at the request of the Administration by Council Members Dilan, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Martinez, Nelson, Recchia, Sears, Stewart, Garodnick, White and Weprin, requires that all suspended scaffolds be inspected daily, and that a record of the inspection at the job site be made available to Buildings Department personnel. Depending on the project, these inspections must be carried out by one or a combination of three groups: 1) an appropriately trained rigger or the rigger's foreman; 2) a licensed sign hanger or the sign hanger's foreman; or 3) a construction superintendent.
"Introductory Number 523-A, sponsored on behalf of the Administration by Council Members Dilan, Addabbo, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Martinez, Nelson, Recchia, Sears, Stewart, Garodnick, White and Weprin, would require any person using or installing a suspended scaffold hung from a C-hook or outrigger beam to notify the Department of Buildings at least 24 but no more than 48 hours prior to the start of their use or installation. The bill would impose a penalty of $500 for the first violation and $1,250 for a second violation of the notification provisions. It would also authorize the Buildings Department to issue a stop work order that will be in effect for a minimum of two days if there is a failure to notify the Department if the rigger is unlicensed, if the workers lack certificates of fitness, or if the rigger has not filed proper insurance or bonding documents.
"Introductory Number 524-A, sponsored on behalf of the Administration by Council Members Dilan, Addabbo, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Martinez, Nelson, Recchia, Sears, Stewart, Garodnick, White and Weprin, will set forth an increased penalty schedule for non-compliance with the regulations governing licensed riggers and others who supervise suspended scaffolds. Current penalties are up to $2,500 for the first offense and up to $10,000 for a subsequent offense. This bill sets a fine range from $1,500 to $2,500 for not having a certificate of fitness, and $1,250 to $2,500 for not having a licensed rigger on site or lacking insurance. All subsequent violations will range between $2,500 and $15,000.
"As construction across the five boroughs has boomed over the past five years, unfortunately so has the number of scaffold accidents. Every construction-related injury or death is a tragedy, and the implementation of the Task Force recommendations and adoption of these bills will help minimize such tragedies by enhancing inspections, ensuring proper installation techniques and increasing penalties.
"I would like to thank the Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster and her staff for their work on this legislation. I would especially like to thank the members of the Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force, which was comprised of a range of stakeholders from the Federal, State, and City governments, immigrant advocacy groups, workers and contractors involved in the scaffolding industry, for their hard work and dedication to this important issue. I would also like to thank the Council for their approval of these bills."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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