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Critical Updates to NYC Safety Training Requirements

The construction safety training landscape in New York City shifted dramatically in 2017 with the passage of Local Law 196.  The law increased the baseline safety training requirements for most NYC construction sites.  The safety training increase was in part a response by the NYC Council to a series of high-profile construction accidents and fatalities.  The full implementation, currently slated for September 2020, will require workers at certain construction sites to receive 40 hours of safety training and certain supervisors to receive 62 hours of safety training.

The new training requirement is occurring in a progressive manner with 3 chronological phases (currently phase 1 is active).  The NYC Department of Buildings has made its best efforts to answer questions and make public regulatory interpretations arising out of the new training requirements.  However, as often occurs with new requirements, there has been an avalanche of questions and sometimes confusion.  Additionally, there have been changes that include shifting of implementation dates, definitions of terms and details on training card issuance.  Below are some important recent changes:

#1 NYC Council Passed Legislation to Change Dates

In May of 2019 the NYC Council passed an extender bill changing the 2nd implementation date of Local Law 196 from June 1, 2019 to December 1, 2019(.) The purpose of the extender bill was to give the NYC construction industry time for workers and supervisors to obtain the required training.  Phase 2 of the implementation requires worker and supervisor training as per below:


Can obtain a Limited SST Card (30 Hours) by following 1 of 3 options below:

Option 1. OSHA 10-Hour Class with 20-Hours of Additional Training:

  • OSHA 10-Hour Class
  • 8-Hour Fall Prevention
  • 8-Hour Site Safety Manager Refresher
  • 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User and Refresher


Option 2. OSHA 30-Hour Class


Option 3. 100-Hour Training Program Approved by the Department


Can obtain a Supervisor SST Card by completing 62 Hours of training, as follows:

  • OSHA 30-Hour Class
  • 8-Hour Fall Prevention
  • 8-Hour Site Safety Manager Refresher
  • 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User and Refresher
  • 2-Hour Site Safety Plan
  • 2-Hour Toolbox Talks
  • 2-Hour Pre-Task Safety Meetings
  • 2-Hour General Electives
  • 2-Hour Specialized Electives
  • 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness

The extender bill sets a date of December 1, 2019 for the second compliance date although there is also language that could allow NYC Department of Buildings to push back the date further into 2020 if the Department deems it necessary.  Members of the Department have publicly stated that they believe sufficient training capacity exists and the Department plans on sticking with the revised date of December 1, 2019(.) 

#2 Clarification of Competent Person by DOB

One of the most discussed issues arising out of the new training requirements has been which competent persons are required to receive the Local Law 196 Supervisor training.  Local Law 196 reads in part:

Local Law 196 SST Supervisor Required

“ ……. each such 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.”

The term “competent person” is a defined term in the NYC Building Code through Chapter 33’s definitions section, and reads as follows:

                Definitions Section Chapter 33

A DOB Chapter 33 “COMPETENT PERSON” is defined as “One who is capable of identifying existing predictable hazards in the surroundings or conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate such hazards” NYC Building Code 3302

The initial feedback from the NYC Department of Buildings was that “competent persons” throughout Chapter 33 required 62 hours of supervisor safety training resulting in an SST supervisor card. 

The NYC Department of Buildings has recently taken a narrower view of which “competent persons” are required to receive the 62 hours of supervisory safety training and SST supervisor card.  The Department is now taking the position that the only “competent person” required to receive the 62-hour supervisory training are competent persons acting as a competent person for a NYC DOB Licensed Superintendent of Construction.  NYC Local Law 81 of 2017 (NYC Building Code 3301.13.12) dictates that all construction projects requiring a DOB Licensed Superintendent of Construction must also designate a “competent person” appointed by the Licensed Superintendent.  The “competent person” in the Licensed Superintendent context includes duties to identify hazards and take corrective measures.  The additional duties include being present at the designated job site while all work is occurring, carrying out orders issued by the Licensed Super, reporting accidents to the Super and more.

            Local Law 81 Competent Person

A DOB Licensed Construction Superintendent “Competent Person” requirements include that “The construction superintendent must designate a competent person for each job site for which the construction superintendent is responsible and ensure such competent person is present at the designated job site at all times active work occurs.  The designation of a competent person does not alter or diminish any obligation imposed upon the construction superintendent.  The competent person must carry out orders issued by the construction superintendent; be able to identify unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous conditions; take prompt  corrective measures to eliminate such conditions; immediately report to the construction superintendent accidents at the job site or any damage to adjoining property caused by construction or demolition activity at the job site; and be able to effectively communicate  workplace instructions and safety directions to all workers at the site.  NYC Building Code 3301.13.12

To be clear, NYC Department of Buildings is currently taking the position that a “competent person” designated by a DOB Licensed Construction Superintendent must have the Local Law 196 Supervisor Safety Training and SST supervisor card.  However, other types of “competent persons” (for example OSHA or other activities in Chapter 33) are not required to have the Supervisor training and are only required to have the worker safety training.

#3 SST Training Cards Are Currently Being Issued

The new safety training requirements ultimately result in a full Site Safety Training Card (SST Card) to be carried by workers and supervisors while on a construction project.  The full SST card evidences completion of the required training including a list of courses taken and a photograph of the card holder.  The full SST card is valid for a 5-year period and can be renewed with either an 8-hour worker refresher or 16-hour supervisor refresher.  The full implementation and compliance date is schedule to occur in September of 2020.

Local Law 196 Second Compliance Date

On and after the SST second compliance date, and until the day before the SST full compliance date, ensuring that (i) each such worker has an SST card, a limited SST card or a temporary SST card and (ii) each such worker who is serving as a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, concrete safety manager, construction superintendent or a competent person at such site has an SST supervisor card.

There have been some indications that the NYC Department of Buildings might accept 30 Hour OSHA cards in lieu of an SST card.  However, this equivalency is not explicitly called for in the law and not having an SST card could potentially result in compliance issues for affected workers.

Model Card Sample

It is important to take the required LL 196 training and obtain the required SST card as soon as possible.  Waiting for the last moment can result in delays or complications as there is usually a training rush just prior to implementation deadlines.

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