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THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF LOCAL LAW 196

By Hank Kita, STA Executive Director

I am writing to you once again about the always evolving interpretation of the requirements of Local Law 196, which addresses construction safety training here in New York City.  This law which was passed by the New York City Council in late 2017, has been a source of confusion to general contractors, construction managers, and subcontractors alike, here in our New York City construction industry.

In case you missed recent communications from my office and other sources, here is the latest on the “rollout” of the requirements associated with Local Law 196.

  1. The City Council has passed Intro 1533-A which now extends the deadline for compliance with Local Law 196. This extension changes the deadline from June 1, 2019 to December 1, 2019 to complete the required 30 hours of training for workers and 62 hours of training for supervisors.This bill allows for a second extension, that the Buildings Commissioner can order, which would move the deadline for compliance to no later than June 1, 2020.  This extension can be granted only for insufficient capacity to provide the training, and the Commissioner must make that determination by September 1, 2019.Intro 1533-A will become law only after it is signed by the Mayor.  It is anticipated that the Mayor will sign the legislation in the not too distant future.
  2. The issue of “competent person” remains unresolved as it relates to Local Law 196 at this time. The City Council has not yet acted on additional legislation, Intro. No. 720-A which addresses competent person and safety training provider standards.  The Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA) has negotiated a change to the definition of a competent person.  The negotiated change with both the City Council and the Department of Buildings states that the only competent person requiring the “supervisors” 62 hours of training under Local Law 196, will be the one competent person replacing the site superintendent.  Consequently, each subcontractor trade will not require a supervisor with the 62 hours of training on each of their crews, nor will the competent person who gives the pre-shift safety talk be required to have the supervisor training.  To bring closure to this issue, the Department of Buildings is planning to develop a Service Bulletin defining the competent person.  The City Council then plans to codify that language in a bill by the end of May. This language as negotiated by the BTEA, would in effect not require that subcontractors be responsible for the training of a competent person on a job site, unless the Superintendent is absent, or if the subcontractor is a prime contractor holding the permit on a site safety job.  However, construction managers and general contractors may require through contract language that subcontractors be responsible for the maintenance of a competent person on specific project sites.  Currently, it appears that some general contractors and construction managers will require that subcontractors maintain the competent person on their project sites in spite of the above legislation. I urge all subcontractor members to review their upcoming contracts with general contractors and construction managers to determine what they might be requiring on a given project where the “competent person” is concerned.

In the coming weeks and months, my office will stay in touch with the various general contractor and construction management associations to determine how they might be working with their members on “competent person” requirements and other issues related to Local Law 196.  The STA will keep you informed on this and further developments related to the implementation of Local Law 196, as events warrant.