On February 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (at podium) joined labor leaders, builders, elected officials and more to announce a historic agreement that implements safety training standards on large construction sites.
Construction is a dangerous industry, representing an estimated 25 percent of all of workplace fatalities nationwide. In New York, annual statistics show that a construction worker is killed once every six days on jobsites statewide. In an effort to increase safety in construction across Long Island, industry leaders have agreed upon minimum safety training standards for all workers employed at construction sites over 35k sq/ft. Pictured are New York State Senator and Plumbers Local 200 Business Agent Mario Matera (first left of center in yellow vest); Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor/Councilman Neil Foley (first right of center) and Town of Brookhaven Councilman Michael Loguercio, (second right of center) also spoke at the press conference.
The legislation, which was adopted at the Town of Brookhaven’s February 22 Town Board meeting, requires all workers to have an OSHA 30 certification at jobsites over 35k sq/ft., and also that there be a Site Safety Supervisor at jobsites over 75k sq/ft., to further ensure accountability and increased safety standards on complex construction projects.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Daniel J. Panico said, “Today’s announcement marks the culmination of talks between the Town, the development community and labor. It is proof that an effective thoughtful compromise can be struck when people sit down and talk to each other as opposed to at each other. I thank everyone involved in bringing us to this day, where the Town Board is expected to pass this law this evening at our public hearing.”
“As certified OSHA instructor, safety is first and foremost the number one priority for the members I represent”, stated Laborers Local 66 Vice President Vinny Alu. “Far too many workers are killed on construction sites simply because they are not provided the necessary safety training to do the job safely. An OSHA 30 certification is the minimum training any worker should be required to have before entering a dangerous construction site. I want to thank the Long Island Builders Institute and Supervisor Panico for working with us to address workplace safety. This will undoubtedly save lives.”
The law will require permit holders for large construction sites to ensure that their General Contractors and Subcontractors have a trained workforce, and that proof of each worker’s OSHA 30 certification will be documented and available upon the Town’s request.
Mike Florio, CEO, Long Island Builders Institute said, “On any jobsite, worker safety is first and foremost a priority and this agreement establishes a baseline standard for all construction projects. Our goal is to see this standard adopted from one end of Long Island to the other, which will raise the floor for worker training and safety. We thank Supervisor Panico and the town board for addressing this important issue and the Laborers Local 66 and Nassau Suffolk Building Trades for working together to craft this historic agreement.”
“Organized labor began with a focus on safety for workers on the jobsite,” stated Matthew Aracich, President of the Nassau Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council. “Today’s announcement has strengthened the core of those labor standards for the Long Island workforce. I commend the efforts of Laborers Local 66 and the Town of Brookhaven to adopt this policy for all jobsites. Having an alignment with representatives of the Long Island Builders Institute and Association for Better Long Island means the Building Trades Council and affiliates care equally about worker’s interests.”
“We would like to applaud Supervisor Panico, the Brookhaven Town Board, and all of their colleagues across Long Island who are committed to passing this measure,” stated Ryan Stanton, Executive Director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “The importance and value of a uniform safety standard on construction sites across Long Island cannot be overstated. The construction industry is dangerous by nature, and the requirement of an OSHA30 training standard is vital to ensuring all workers get to return home to their families at the end of the day. It’s been nothing short of amazing working in collaboration with our affiliates, contractors, development community, and local elected officials to deliver a safety policy that we all agree on and are excited about.”
Failure to comply with the law can result in fines of $1,000 and up to $10,000 for each day violations are found. Qualified third-party safety persons or entities that can provide certifications are permitted to be used to confirm compliance with the requirements.
Other union and labor officials who attended the press conference were Matthew Aracich, President Nassau Suffolk Building Trades Council; Ryan Stanton, Executive Director Long Island Federation of Labor; Vinny Alu, Vice President Laborers Local 66; Tim McCarthy, IBEW Local 25 Business Representative; Ray Fester, DC9 Painters Business Agent; Brian Kearney Jr., President SteamFitters Local 638; Mike Bourgal, Teamsters Local 282 Business Agent; and Robert Wilson, Operating Engineers Local 30.