The Most Important Tool Construction Workers Need to Stay Safe on the Job

by Bryan Pope

Recently, New York City approved a bill that will require certain construction workers to receive at least 40 hours of training before stepping onto a site. The council bill is called Intro. 1447, and it will mandate that nonunion contractors and developers provide their workers with comparable safety training to that which union workers have received for years through union-established apprenticeship programs.

Unfortunately, those opposed to such legislation can offer little rebuttal; whether they claim time delays or exponentially more paperwork, it all comes down to a question of money lost and money spent.  Yet such opinions are shortsighted, as crippling accidents and deaths incur a cost that is not easily settled on a construction company’s ledger books.

Sometimes, even on-site supervisors are resistant to such employee training. They have dealt with such issues for so long that much of it is second nature to them, so they view the knowledge as common sense that everyone working under them should be aware of. The problem being that this approach only makes construction site accidents far too common, as the numbers will attest to. Case in point, the U.S. Bureau of Labor states that construction workers often account for the majority of worker fatalities each year—the most recent data totaling to 4,800 for 2015, the highest number since 2008.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) actually offers such training through a program they call OSHA 10—a series of 10-hour online training courses that cost about $60  and cover topics that include fall protection, personal protective equipment (PPE), avoiding electrocution and more. Details can be found online at