Push to halt work at unsafe jobsites gains steam

BROOKLYN - Recent construction site deaths have prompted a Brooklyn lawmaker to push legislation calling for a crackdown on contractors.

According to federal statistics, 86 percent of accidents happen at non-union worksites, many times with immigrant workers. The city sent representatives to the Bay Parkway Job Center to inform day laborers about their rights.

"They take us to put stucco and the scaffolding isn't secure. They don't give us harnesses," one worker said.

"We need more [rules] with more teeth in them to stop these bad contractors," Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster said.

City Council member Erik Dilan (D-37th District) plans to draft legislation this summer advocating increased penalties for contractors who disobey the law. The measure would also ban contractors with three violations from working in the city for five years.

Workers can anonymously report unsafe work conditions, without fear of being fired, to the city's free 311 information line or to the Department of Labor.

For a news conference with day laborers about construction safety, go to channel 612 on your digital iO cable box and select iO Extra.

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