New York’s Building Safety Act would drastically increase fines

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Known as “Carlos’ Law,” the bill awaits New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

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Carlos Moncayo was a 22-year-old construction worker who was killed in New York City when a ditch he was working in collapsed. The Ecuadorian immigrant was part of a crew that built a hardware store for restorations in 2015. The 14-foot deep ditch he was working in collapsed, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now his name is on a bill that would increase fines for such incidents.

according to a New York Times According to the article, the investigating officer at the scene was a former construction worker and realized that the trench lacked the necessary safety precautions. An OSHA investigation followed, which resulted in fines and convictions for Harco Construction LLC of New York City and subcontractor Sky Materials Corp. from Maspeth and Calverton, NY, for failing to protect the ditch from collapse. Both companies faced manslaughter and other charges in New York.

“Carlos Moncayo was a person, not a statistic. His death was absolutely avoidable. Had the ditch been properly secured against collapse, he would not have died in the collapse,” Kay Gee, OSHA’s Manhattan area director, told the Times. “Harco and Sky Materials managers were aware of these deadly hazards and did not remove workers from the trench, even after warnings from project safety officials. This unscrupulous behavior has unnecessarily and shamefully cost a man his life.”

Each company received the maximum fine: $140,000. The bill, Carlos’ Law, was approved by the New York Legislature and sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office for signature. She hasn’t signed the law yet. She has until the end of the year to sign it.

The bill increases fines for companies that are found guilty a crime in which a worker is killed or injured. The minimum has been increased from $10,000 to $500,000 for felonies and $300,000 for misdemeanors.

Fines have been increased to try to reduce construction injuries and deaths.

“This law is aimed at the renegade developers and the nefarious operators that are out here in the construction industry who would put profits ahead of life,” Michael Hellstrom, executive director of the Mason Tenders District Council, a labor umbrella organization that represents 16,000 workers in new represents york, said in response to the bill.

More than 70 construction workers have died on the job since Moncayo’s death in 2015 highest number and rate of fatal accidents at work in each industry, according to OSHA.

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