Updates from the Committee on Workplace Safety

Assemblyman Lancman's Labor Press Monthly Column - March 2010
March 17, 2010

In an effort to eliminate avoidable fatalities and injuries in the construction industry, New York State law requires construction workers on public projects costing more than $250,000 to undergo a ten hour course on workplace safety and health certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), commonly referred to as the “OSHA 10 course.” In spite of the good intentions set by this law, newspapers have uncovered instances of classes being given in two hours instead of ten, and in a bar rather than a classroom, diminishing the impact of the law.

Currently there is no centralized agency tracking who has taken the OSHA 10 course, or tracking which entities and organizations are certified to teach the course. Because of that, it is difficult for employers and safety enforcement agencies to establish the validity of cards purporting to indicate that an individual has completed an OSHA 10 course, and as mentioned above, there have been significant instances of fraud in the administration of such courses.

This year, I introduced the “Construction Safety Course Accountability Act,” A.10062, in order to ensure that the OSHA 10 course is properly administered and to reduce fraud in the issuance of OSHA 10 course completion cards. This bill requires that all entities and organizations that administer an OSHA 10 course are licensed by the Department of Labor (DoL) and that the DoL maintains a database of all cardholders. This legislation will further the current law’s purpose to eliminate avoidable fatalities and injuries in construction by ensuring that the law is actually being followed.