Town Of Oyster Bay Town Board Holds Public Hearing On Construction Safety Training

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The Town of Oyster Bay Town Board on Oct. 4 held a public hearing on the addition of new construction site safety training requirements to the Building Construction chapter in the town code.
The addition to the town code would require what’s known as in the field OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 30 training. The OSHA act was passed in 1971 and the administration was created to ensure safe and healthy conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards through providing training, education and resources and other means.
“This amendment has to do with construction work and construction sites,” town attorney Frank Scalera said. “The purpose that’s set forth in this statute… is this provision, this section are intended to promote the safety of minor and major construction projects… These provisions are designed to protect workers employed, or otherwise engaged at construction sites, and to make sure they have received adequate safety training, that contractors performing construction work has essential safety training… and essential training systems to prevent injuries and to protect workers injured.”
If the law was passed, it would require contractors performing jobs in the Town of Oyster Bay to receive OSHA 30, a 30-hour safety training class. Presently, all public works contracts require OSHA 10, a 10-hour training course.
“The benefits of OSHA 30 training is that construction workers or demolition workers… that they know how to recognize and avoid common workplace hazards,” Scalera said. “In addition, it also will train workers to learn about the guidelines such as OSHA Hazard Assessment, to assess a workplace and perhaps be more vigilant in reporting things that may be a safety concern. It will add first aid training to these workers in the OSHA 30 class, fire watch requirements, they’ll learn more about personal protective equipment, electric safety and emergency plans for their fellow employees.”
Not only do the construction workers have the benefit of being able to protect themselves and their coworkers, the training will also benefit residents in the town by providing safer conditions that they may walk or drive past.
“What this amendment does is that the applicant or the permit holder, the person who goes for the building permit at the building department or the planning and development department, if their construction project or site is greater than 35,000 square feet but less than 50,000 square feet, that will be deemed under this law a minor construction project,” Scalera explained. “A minor construction project would mean that the employees working on the project would be required to get OSHA 30 training. The local law also proposes and identifies a major construction site, and that would be construction sites 50,000 square feet and over. For those types of sites, the bigger ones, the employees would likewise have to have OSHA 30 training, however it would require what is called an individual entitled site safety designee. That individual would be the supervisor to ensure everybody on the bigger site has OSHA 30 training and follows OSHA 30 training.”
This law would not apply to sites under 35,000 square feet.
Vincent Alu, the vice president of Laborers Local 66 and a resident of Massapequa said the town attorney gave a “perfect evaluation” of this legislation.
“The mission statement of OSHA is the health and safety of the American worker,”
Alu said. “I just want to add a couple statistics that I was looking up while I was preparing. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Occupational Safety and Health in Construction [found that there were] 4,764 fatalities, 21 percent of them (1,008) in construction. We have 1,798 OSHA compliance officers in the nation. That’s a 50-year low. That works out to one inspector for every 82,000 American workers on 10.1 million worksites. It’s very tough for OSHA to police this industry, so to speak.”
Alu, who took OSHA 500 and OSHA 510, is a certified OSHA instructor.
“The legislation is pretty self explanatory and it offers the town a wonderful tool for the tool box when handling these sites,” Alu said. “Thirty-five thousand square feet is the average size of a neighborhood pharmacy type store and 50,000 square feet would require a designated competent site safety manager.”
Alu explained that already in New York City, a construction worker is not allowed on a work site without OSHA 30 training.
“It’s working its way eastward with Northwell Health, MTA and a lot of our bigger clients in the building trade,” Alu said. “For me as a lifelong resident, an OSHA instructor and an [officer of Laborers Local 66,] this makes tremendous sense.”
The class is also available online for $200, and it is not a pass or fail class. It just needs to be attended.
“Some of our bigger clients like Northwell Health or the MTA are requiring refreshers,” Alu said when asked if the certification is a lifetime certification. “I think it’s really helpful, as a lifelong construction worker. There’s things that just blurred the edges sometimes. And the effort of getting these jobs done, it’s miraculous sometimes. To build a hospital on Community Drive, it is short of a miracle to get that done.”
Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino thanked Alu and Scalera for explaining OSHA 30 during the meeting.
“We understand all the points you’re bringing across and we’re all about safety and protecting the public,” Saladino said.
Scalera asked that the town board keep the record open for 30 days so the public could comment. The law has not yet been passed.
Also during the Town of Oyster Bay Town Board meeting:
The town board voted to receive Saladino’s proposed budget for 2023.
The budget will be considered during budget hearing meetings on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“Despite the national economy experiencing the highest inflation rates in 40 years, this is the fifth consecutive tax-freeze budget proposed by my administration,” Saladino said.

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