New York City Council has introduced five construction safety bills and thousands of proposed amendments to the city’s building construction codes, aimed at protecting construction workers and the public, according to New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB).

Previous safety efforts by DOB, including the implementation of an unprecedented construction safety training requirement, resulted in a 34% decrease in injuries on building construction sites from 2018 to 2020, it noted in a press statement.

One of the bills – ‘Intro 2278’ – calls for all general contractors to be licensed by DOB and would require license applicants to meet certain qualifications. It also would allow DOB to take disciplinary action, including suspending and revoking licenses, against contractors, if necessary.

Under ‘Intro 2263’, DOB-licensed site safety co-ordinators or managers would be required on major construction projects that are seven stories and higher. Meanwhile, ‘Intro 2276’ would require DOB-licensed construction superintendents to serve full-time alongside SSCs or SSMs on worksites that are seven stories and higher.

Another safety bill ‘Intro 2264’ is aimed at enhancing safety requirements for professionals performing cold-formed steel light-frame construction work, while ‘Intro 2262’ would permanently prohibit the use of stand-off brackets for C-hook suspended scaffold installations.

In addition, 627 new or expanded changes to existing codes have been proposed, along with thousands of minor changes. If implemented, they’d be the first comprehensive update to city construction codes since 2014, the statement notes.

The proposed code revisions include those related to construction safety, elevator safety, emergency response, fire protection, and building system construction and inspection.

“We must strive for safety through thoughtful legislation that incorporates the input from a wide range of stakeholders,” noted New York City Council member Robert E. Cornegy Jr, Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee. “I do not accept that construction deaths are inevitable. I do not accept that buildings should explode from gas leaks or that elevator mishaps lead to death.”