Environment and Energy, Features, Health and Safety, New York

The Right To Report

July 31, 2020

By Ben Kimmel

Although construction has resumed since early June, the attention to Covid safety has not fallen to the wayside. Recently, building personnel and engineering staff have reported citywide visits from the Department of Buildings to inspect construction sites. The inspections are to ensure that workers are following the proper safety guidelines and to confirm the appropriate measures are taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

It is being discussed by many in the organized trades that there are some work areas that are not meeting the appropriate standards, which can spread harm throughout the community. In unsafe conditions, the job sites are commonly run by unorganized and non-union shops. 

In recent weeks and in a previous article, there have been reports of accidents with one fatality due to careless work environments. However, what can someone do when they witness unsafe practices or notice hazardous conditions on a construction site. 

In most cases, reporting the discovery to a foreman, or site safety officer, and supervisor is an efficient way to resolve the hazard. In most situations, workers of all trades look to remain safe and maintain a Covid-free environment. Nevertheless, there are some that look to save time and cut corners. Unorganized worksites do not consider the necessary measures for worker and public safety.

In the case of concern or an unresolved safety violation, the question becomes, “What do we do?” Fortunately, the website ny.gov can be a helpful resource for both local and governmental services.

According to the website, the public is free to call 311 to report non-emergency complaints. Furthermore, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employees have the right to anonymously report unsafe conditions. In the event an employee is concerned and would prefer to have an onsite inspection, workers can call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Covid-19 has resulted in a painful impact in New York City’s commercial real estate market. Shops and stores are closing. Office buildings are losing occupancy, which means property owners are losing revenue — and although the market is braced for the worst, there is talk about a second wave of Covid infection

For the moment, NYC is holding steadily at Phase 4. Meanwhile, as the rest of the country spikes with new cases, the call for unity and continued safety cannot go unaddressed. Put simply, if you see something, say something!

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of IUOE Local 94, as well as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at bennyk1972@gmail.com.

July 31, 2020

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