There is no gainsaying the many hazards and work-related accidents inherent in the nature of construction work. This fact is perfectly portrayed in the statistics that show that over 1000 industry-related deaths and around 400,000 injuries of employees are recorded annually in the construction industry. As this number rises year in year out, the need for extra caution in construction becomes more undeniable.
It is in view of reducing this unfortunate number and ensuring the ultimate safety and protection of construction workers in New York that the Department of Buildings in 2017 promulgated a law to that effect. The said law is generally known as the New York City Local Law 196 or, simply, the Local Law 196. Addressing the need for reform in the construction industry, this law emphasizes the need for construction workers to undergo a specialized training known as Site Safety Training (SST). This training is custom-built for construction workers, specifically those who work on job sites that require a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator or Site Safety Manager. The training aims to educate construction workers on the basics of construction work and its attendant risks, as well as to properly train them against any potential hazards.
This provision of the Local Law 196 applies to both construction workers and their supervisors alike. The main differing point meanwhile is that while the training of the workers runs for 40 hours, that of the supervisors run for 62 hours.
Upon the completion of this training, supervisors become eligible to receive an NYC SST card. This 62 hours SST card is proof that a potential construction supervisor has completed their training as mandated by the Department of Building, which therefore makes them licensed to work on any construction job sites with a Site Safety Plan in the State of New York.
Before this NYC SST card can be issued, meanwhile, the construction supervisor is obliged to complete all the courses that constitute the 62 hours of training. And for ease, these courses have been designed as an online package to be taken at the convenience of construction workers.
The said courses include:
- OSHA 30-Hour Class: The importance of this course to a person seeking the 62 hours SST card is underscored by its provision of a comprehensive overview of OSHA standards, thereby helping the potential supervisor with their safety responsibility of ensuring that workers are versed in the identification, avoidance, control and prevention of hazards on the worksite.
- 8-Hour Fall Prevention: Further assisting the supervisor with their responsibility of ensuring a safe and healthful work environment for workers, this course touches down on teaching the workers how to recognize, avoid, minimize, and rectify fall hazards on the worksite.
- 8-Hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager): To a person seeking the 62 hours SST Card, this course teaches the requirements of a site safety plan as well as a variety of protocols to ensure the safety of construction workers on the job site.
Basically, it provides supervisors with extensive guidance on construction workers’ safety management, accident prevention and NYC safety regulations.
- 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User: This course seeks to train supervisors on how to prepare construction workers to recognize and avoid accidents resulting from the use of scaffolds by teaching them the importance of safety controls, fall prevention equipment, inspections and emergency planning.
- 2-Hour Site Safety Plan: The importance of this course to a potential construction supervisor seeking to receive the 62 hours SST card is to learn the basics of Site Safety Plans including how to read its blueprint components, interpret its graphic representations, symbols, abbreviations and violations in relation to their role in protecting workers’ safety. And in line with their duty, supervisors will learn to recognize potential issues that could put the safety of workers at risk.
- 2-Hour Toolbox Talks: Another DOB-approved course that a potential construction supervisor is to offer to obtain a valid NYC SST card is the Toolbox Talks course. This course runs for 2 hours, and it teaches a potential supervisor how to effectively plan and run scheduled safety meetings with the workers. The meeting would entail informing construction workers on job-specific hazards and reinforcing workplace safety practices among them.
- 2-Hour Pre-task Safety Meetings: This course is also among the ones approved by the Department of Building to be offered before an SST card can be issued in NYC to prospective construction supervisors. This training borders on the importance of pre-task safety meetings and how to plan and conduct them effectively.
In this training, construction supervisors learn how to develop an effective meeting plan that outlines potential safety hazards and how to avoid them.
- 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness: This course trains potential supervisors on how to educate construction workers on the adverse effect of the indiscriminate use of drugs and alcohol, and to dissuade them from working under the influence of these drugs on the worksite.
- 2 hours of General Electives: Four General Elective courses are given, and construction workers looking to obtain the 62 hours SST card are required to complete a chosen two.
- 2 hours of Specialized Electives: Four Specialized Elective courses are given, and construction workers looking to obtain the 62 hours SST card are required to complete a chosen two.
How to Get an NYC SST Card?
It is only upon the successful completion of the above courses that a valid 62 hours SST card can be properly obtained. And with the ease of operation that the digital world encourages, this SST card can be issued online.
The already obtained SST certification only needs to be uploaded to the SST card online site. Afterwards, the online SST card qualified for will be displayed as well as how to order it. One approved body that is authorized to issue NYC SST cards is the OSHA Education Center.
Other required factors to be considered before this NYC SST card can be issued include:
- 100% attendance of the SST card online class
- Compliance with the PDH STAR facial biometric requirement for monitoring attendance
- Achievement of a minimum of 70% in the end-of-course written assessment
- Completion of Evaluation Form at the end of the course