Friday, June 07, 2019

New York City Adds Training Requirements for Construction Workers, But Delays Phase II Again.

In 2017, New York City's (NYC) Council amended the administrative code of the City of New York and the NYC building code, in relation to construction site safety training.  This amendment is called Local Law 196 of 2017 (formerly known as Intro. 1447).  It amends the administrative code by adding section 22-509 Construction site safety training courses.  Requiring the Mayor to establish by March 1, 2018, a program to provide equal access to construction site safety training.  This law has several deadlines and was established to make sure that construction workers in New York City all had a minimum amount of training.  This law has been updated and delayed twice, so far (click here for the recent update).

Properly capped rebar
The first deadline has passed already, beginning March 1, 2018, each permit holder at a building site for which a construction superintendent, site safety manager, or site safety coordinator is required shall ensure that each construction or demolition worker employed or otherwise engaged at such site by the permit holder or performing subcontracted work for or on behalf of such permit holder shall have successfully completed:

  • an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour class;
  • an OSHA 30-hour class; or
  • a 100-hour training program.
So currently, you need one of the above items to work on most construction projects.  The next compliance date is now December 1, 2019 (it was originally December 1, 2018, it was pushed back by the Building Department to June 1, 2019, and now has been pushed back by the New York City Council).  Permit holders shall ensure each worker has an OSHA 30-hour card, SST card, a limited SST card or a temporary SST card and each worker who is serving as a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, concrete safety manager, construction superintendent or a competent person at such site shall have an SST supervisor card.

Recent OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety Course
If you are wondering what an SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card is, well you are not the only one!  First, a Site Safety Training card (SST card) SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card are cards that are issued by a New York City Department of Buildings Approved Training Provider (which at the time of my writing this, there are 72 training providers approved).

To get a limited SST card (which expires August 31, 2020) you must have taken one of the following training paths:

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 20-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher) or 4-hour General Electives and 4-hour Specialized Electives
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User and refresher
  2. OSHA 30-hour class
  3. 100-Hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User

To get a temporary SST card (which expires after 6 months during which time training must be completed to receive a Limited SST card or SST card) you must have taken an OSHA 10-hour class.

To get an SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken one of the following training paths, this card will be required by September 1, 2020 (unless the NYC Council pushes this deadline back):

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 30-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 4-hour General Electives
    • 4-hour Specialized Electives
    • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  2. OSHA 30-hour Class with 10-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 30-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  3. 100-hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
To get a Supervisor SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken:
  • OSHA 30-hour class
  • 8-hour fall prevention
  • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
  • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  • 2-hour Site Safety Plan
  • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
  • 2-hour Pre-task Safety Meetings
  • 2-hour General Electives
  • 2-hour Specialized Electives
  • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
So that's how you get the various cards required under this local law.  The law doesn't end there.  The next compliance date is September 1, 2020.  By that date, all workers must have an SST card to work on most construction projects.

By the full compliance date, SST Cards & Supervisor SST cards will be required on most construction sites
Since SST Cards and Supervisor SST cards expire after 5 years, applicants must have completed training to renew the cards in the one-year period preceding renewal of the card (in other words if the card expires in September 2025, in the year from September 2024 to September 2025 you need to complete the training discussed below):

  1. SST Card (8 Hours)
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  2. Supervisor SST card (16 hours)
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
    • 2-hour Pre-Task Safety Meetings
Local Law 196 of 2017 obviously, creates a minimum training requirement for workers on most construction projects, to visit the NYC Site Safety Training website click here.  Permit holders are required to maintain a daily log that identifies each worker and that includes, for each worker a copy of SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card or proof of taking an OSHA 10-hour; OSHA 30-hour; or 100-hour training program.  Violations of this law will result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per untrained worker to be issued to the owner of the site, the permit holder, and the employer of the untrained worker (this could mean up to a $15,000 fine, based on contract language, to the employer of the untrained worker).  Failing to maintain the log will result in a civil penalty of $2,500.  The gradual phase-in, the list of General and Specialized Elective courses, and the recent release of what it will take to become an approved training provider all seem to imply that the later dates may be the actual dates of implementation.  As we see now.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Over 600 Attend the 23rd Annual PACNY Environmental Conference - A Most Successful Conference!

The third day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, is typically called Regulatory Day because of the New York State Department of Labor attending and discussing the status of the programs they run.  This year's conference was the most attended conference with over 600 attendees, attending the three-day conference.  Ms. Deb Sanscrainte, of Aramsco, and the chairman of the conference, and Ms. Lisa Brown, of Summit Environmental, administrator of PACNY did what has become their routine process of getting the conference together (the most successful ever!), keeping everyone on point, focused on the conference, and the presentations.  Peter DeLucia and Greg Mance of AAC Contracting worked the audiovisual equipment as pros, even though this was there the first conference working the audiovisuals.  They have also made sure that they have gotten most of the presentations up on the PACNY website, click here.  Usually, the day after the vendor reception, the next morning starts out very slowly.  With vendors and attendees enjoying coffee, tea, and danishes in the vendor area.

Vendor Reception
The conference opened with a discussion of the hazards of lead-based paint by Mr. Kevin Hutton of Rochester Colonial Manufacturing.  Followed by Mr. Stephen Gheen, P.E. of Gheen Engineering speaking on New York State Department of Education (NYSED) rules regarding hazards of lead-based paint and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has different certifications and licenses for working in schools on lead-based paint.  Then Mr. Peter DeLucia of AAC Contracting spoke on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding lead exposure.  All three then took questions and answers from the audience regarding lead-based paint.  All three presentations can be found on PACNY's website.

Lead Panel Discussion - Stephen Gheen, Kevin Hutton, & Pete DeLucia
After a short break, the conference proceeded with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) panel consisting of Dr. Eileen Franko, the Director; Mr. James Meacham Program Manager, Asbestos Control Bureau; Mr. Kirk Fisher, Program Manager, Licensing & Certification; and Mr. Ed Smith, Program Manager, Engineering Services Unit.  Questions and answers session was moderated by Mr. Tim Thomas of Tetra Tech Engineering.

Questions for the Lead Panel
Mr. Meacham filled us in that NYSDOL received another 3-year grant (runs through to 2021) to audit school's compliance with the EPA's Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).  To date, NYSDOL has audited 115 schools throughout the state.  Dr. Franko re-emphasized as she does every year that Article 32 the mold law is a consumer protection law and there are limitations in the law.  Mr. Fisher informed us that the online notification systems are not working they want and because of staffing issues licenses and certifications are taking 30 days to 6 weeks to process.  Mr. Smith informed us that they will start working on the fast track variances, again.  Fast Track Variances are a pilot program for certain site-specific variances (SSV).  These are common variances that are issued on a regular basis.  They are planning 9 variances to be available at the start of the program - negative air shutdown, exhausting to an interior space, elevator door removal, fire door removal, crawlspace with dirt floor, intact component removal, buried cementitious (e.g., Transite) pipe, HEPA drilling spot removal, & air sampling at elevated exhaust duct locations.   These would be the guidelines for getting a fast track variance:

  • A completed SH-752 form must be submitted. The form must include all the necessary information for obtaining a variance, including the hardship. NO information about the work plan should be included with the application.
  • The SH-752 form must be submitted by a certified Project Designer working on behalf of the Petitioner.
  • The variance fee of $350 must be included.
  • In Section 9 of the SH-752 form, the Petitioner's Agent must write in the number of the FTV that is requested.
  • The FTV will be issued as it is written. If some part of the FTV doesn't meet the project's needs, then a standard SSV is required.
  • Other relief cannot be added to the FTV.
  • No re-openings or amendments are allowed.
  • Termination date extension requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis,
  • These FTVs have no bearing on notification times.
During the questions and answers, several questions were asked related to the expiration date of training by NYSDOL versus the expiration date of AHERA.  With NYSDOL's view that this is only an issue for the initial class and that student as long as they comply with the annual training requirement related to the birth month, this is not an issue.  We also learned that NYSDOL has suspended the disruptive enforcement/reconciliation of records process they developed back in 2013 in response to a Thomas DiNapoli audit saying NYSDOL had no process to find those breaking the law for notification, surveys, etc.  According to NYSDOL, they do not have the staffing to handle this at this time.
Mr. Thomas introducing the NYSDOL panel Dr. Franko, Mr. Smith, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Meacham
The conference ended with lunch and Future Environment Designs was proud to be one of the sponsors of the conference.  Though it ended with NYSDOL indicating they are having staffing issues that are obviously impacting licensing, certification, and enforcement.  It was good to hear that NYSDOL is moving forward with the fast track variances.  As usual, we are already looking forward to next year's conference which will be February 26, 27, & 28, 2020.  See you there!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Professional Day - Day Two of PACNY's 23rd Annual Environmental Conference - Vendors Galore!

The second day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, started in the Vendor Exhibit Hall with the realization that there were quite a few new vendors on display.  To be exact 5 additional vendors added to the usual 23 vendors the conference usually has.  To provide access to the presentations PACNY has loaded most of the presentations from the three-day conference at their website, click here.

Video of the Vendor Exhibit Hall at Turning Stone Casino

Opening remarks & conference welcome were done by Chairman Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, and PACNY President Joseph Cantone, of Colden Corporation.  The first presenter for the second day was Sue Rossi, CHMM the Sr. Industrial Account Manager of Waste Management, her topic was "Asbestos and other special wastes".  Her presentation informed us that New York State in 1988 had 227 landfills and now there are only 26 active landfills, many closed due to tougher environmental regulations.  Her presentation also informed us that NYS requires landfills to treat non-friable asbestos-containing materials (ACM) that are placed into an asbestos labeled waste bag (class 9 bags) as friable.  Even if they are put into class 9 bags that were turned inside out.  If the bag rips open at the landfill, the landfill will back charge the contractor for the additional fee for disposal as a friable instead of the nonfriable charge.  Ms. Rossi also discussed that Waste Management's High Acres Landfill can accept polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) bulk product (e.g., caulk, paint, mastics, sealants) waste.  The approval checklist and backup information for the handling of PCB bulk product wastes and a copy of her presentation can be found here.

Sue Rossi, CHMM of Waste Management speaking about Friable ACM waste
Our next presenter was Timothy W. Pullis, ARM, Construction Practice Leader of Brown & Brown of NY, Inc., discussing "Workers' Compensation EMR Fundamentals".  Mr. Pullis discussed a drugfree workplace credit of 5% (worth 5 points); experience mod was explained as a formula that calculates the ratio of "expected" losses compared to "actual" losses, the experience mod is a statistical comparison of risks using the same job class codes and similar payroll, and the result adjusts the annual workers compensation premium based on the prior loss experience by "modifying" the manual premium; and EMRs over one (1) could exempt people from certain contracts.  Our presenter before coffee break was Adam Schrader, President of Ecospect and George Schambach, President of NYS American Association of Radon Scientist and Technologist (AARST) Professional Home Inspection Service discussing "Current Radon Legislation in NYS, and current national American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/AARST Standards for testing and mitigation in all building types".  Mr. Schambach discussed pending NYS legislation Assembly Bill #A8605 and Senate Bill #S6851 to amend the real property law, in relation to radon service professional licensing.  Radon service professionals would include - radon measurement professional defined as radon service professional who deploys and retrieves radon detectors and provides a report of the associated measurement results that are generated by a radon analytical laboratory and radon mitigation professional defined as a radon service professional who interprets radon test results and determines the most effective way to manage radon concentrations within buildings.

Corey Briggs of Colden Corporation - Freeze Framed!
After taking our break in the Vendor Exhibit Hall, Kevin Canaan, of AAC Contracting, started the presentations by awarding Joseph D. Lane, President of Environmental Protection Services, PACNY's Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service above and beyond normal PACNY duties.  Corey W. Briggs, MSPH, CIH, CET, FAIHA, Senior Consultant of Colden Corporation, led a presentation titled "Freeze Frame - Focus on H&S" that was entertaining for the many pictures of unsafe acts.  Next up was Brian Sampson, of the Associated Builders and Contractors Association, discussing "Trends and Issues of Concern for the Construction Community".  His discussion touched on the legalization of recreational marijuana and the extension of prevailing wage to private work.

Mike Rubin of Goldberg Segalla - Proactively Establish Your Defenses
After lunch and the Vendor Exhibit Hall Mike Rubin Esq., Partner at Goldberg Segalla, discussed "Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Top Ten Tips - Minimize and Eliminate Exposure".  Mr. Rubin's presentation touched on the employer's rights during an OSHA inspection, creating an OSHA response plan, asserting your rights during an inspection, and points necessary for a proactive defense.  After another visit to the Vendor Exhibit Hall, Mike Waller, PhD, of Rochester Regional Health, spoke on "Sustainability/Solutions and How to Balance".  Dr. Waller started his presentation with "how do you define sustainability."  His definition was thought-provoking "development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations" or in other words "Solving today's challenges without creating future problems".  The presentations ended with Rob DeMalo, Member of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Senior Vice President of EMSL Analytical, Inc, presentation on "Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Regulatory Update".  Discussing the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Vendor Reception - Food and an Open Bar
After the presentations, the Vendor Reception was held in Vendor Exhibit Hall including food and an open bar.  The vendor reception included the usual suspects Aramsco, DiVal, Frederico Demolition, Healthy Indoors, and Future Environment Designs, click here for a full list of Sponsors/Vendors.  One of the interesting new vendors was Sundstrom displaying new respirators for asbestos and silica and Red Roof Inn with a special discount for conference attendees.  The second day is called Professional Day and all the presentations definitely met the definition of professional with a lot of valuable information provided and may takeaways. Stay tuned for the final day Regulatory Day!

Sundstrom Silica Dust Respirator Kit

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Proficiency Day Awards Architects & Engineers 3 Professional Development Hours - PACNY's 23rd Annual Environmental Conference - Day One

This year's Proficiency Day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference was approved to award three (3) professional development hours (PDH) for architects and engineers.  This was the first time the first day of the conference was recognized for this purpose.  The first day is typically short with two or three presenters allowing us to get the presentations to the Practicing Institute of Engineers for their review.  Attendees had to sign the attendance sheet and attend the presentations to receive the 3 PDHs.  Ms. Lisa Brown, Executive Secretary of PACNY sent out the certificates to those that attended the presentations.

Karen Cummings, MPH presenting on the Asbestos Safety Training Program
Starting the conference and the proficiency day was Ms. Karen Cummings, MPH presenting on the Asbestos Safety Training Program  "Overview and Updates".  Her presentation gave us insights into the asbestos training industry.  For a copy of her presentation visit our Dropbox folder on the Resources page of our website.  Ms. Cummings has been the Director of the New York State Department of Health's Asbestos Safety Training Program for just over a year and has been getting to know the program.  Her presentation gave asbestos training providers, an important opportunity to meet with her and her staff (Ms. Jessica Pierce, reviewer of training submittals, and Ms. Ida Berry, many of us have met her when she has audited our training courses, were both in attendance).  Her department in 2018 regulated 62 training providers that provided 26,251 training certificates.  Her presentation included several graphics providing us with a glimpse of the NYS asbestos training industry.  The high water mark for training was 2000 when approximately 3,838 training classes (refreshers and initials total) were held (in 2018, 3,401 training classes were held).  Ms. Cummings also informed us that the high water mark for training certificates was 2013 with 29,130 certificates issued.  We learned that the busy season for training providers runs from January to April with over a third of all classes being held in that time period.  Some other interesting points from Ms. Cumming's presentation: 15% of providers (training providers holding 100+ classes per year) taught over half the classes and issued two-thirds of the certificates; average exam scores by discipline were typically higher for refresher classes than initial classes (not surprising) except for the air sample technician discipline (surprising).

Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, presenting on Asbestos Inspections & NYCDEP Changes
The next presentation was a "Review of Asbestos Inspection Requirements" presented by Mr. Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, of Future Environment Designs with significant assistance from Mr. Peter Delucia and Mr. Greg Mance, both from AAC Contracting.  Mr. Delucia worked on the content and did the polling of the audience, while Mr. Mance assisted with the content and questions to the audience.   Our group effort paid off with a well-received presentation that provided the audience with interactivity and information on the various requirements for performing asbestos inspections.  This presentation can also be found in the Dropbox folder.

The final presentation was "New York City Title 15 Amendments" also presented by Mr. Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, and again this presentation can be found in the Dropbox folder.  This presentation was on the recent changes to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (NYC DEP's) Title 15 Asbestos Regulation (formerly known as Local Law 76).  These changes were made because of the arrest of 17 NYC asbestos investigators (see the above video on the press conference on the arrests) and the recommendations of the New York City Department of Investigations (NYC DOI).   These changes included additional requirements for NYC Asbestos Investigators and some changes to other parts of the asbestos regulations.  See our previous blog post on these new requirements.

TS Steakhouse Waitress making the "Gotham"
Overall it was a good start to the three-day conference.  Of course, what is a PACNY conference without snow?  It was snowing by the end of the presentations.  Though it did not seem to deter people from attending the President's Reception that evening or prevent us from getting the Gotham at the TS Steakhouse.  Stay tuned for Days Two & Three!

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Monday, March 18, 2019

OSHA Fines Increase by 2.5%

On January 15, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased the maximum civil penalties (fines) for serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements to $13,260, from $12,934.  Failure to Abate violations have increased to $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date from $12,934 and Willful/Repeat violations have increased to $132,598 from $129,336.  These civil penalty increases were mandated by Congress, on November 2, 2015, through legislation that required all federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation.  OSHA increased their penalties on August 1, 2016, the link to our previous blog post discussing that increase is below.  Moving forward, as the legislation requires, the penalties will be adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price indexClick here for the 2019 increase announcement.  OSHA will continue to do penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.