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Campaign Urges City to Pass Construction Safety Bill After Worker's Death

By Maya Rajamani | April 21, 2017 10:28am
 The construction site at 1604 Broadway, between West 48th and 49th streets, where Jose Cruz was killed on April 12.
The construction site at 1604 Broadway, between West 48th and 49th streets, where Jose Cruz was killed on April 12.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

TIMES SQUARE — A group of labor unions have launched a campaign urging the City Council to pass a construction-safety bill following the death of a worker in Times Square last week.

Sunset Park resident Jose Cruz, 59, died after falling from the second floor of a construction site at 1604 Broadway on April 12.

On Tuesday, the Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust and District Council 9 rolled out a campaign called “Buildings Blocks NYC,” which backs a proposed bill that would require workers at “major” construction sites to have taken part in an apprenticeship program focused on safety.

The legislation, known as Intro 1447, is part of a 21-bill package called the Construction Safety Act. The campaign’s first advertisement was posted online Tuesday.

Laborers Laurie Smith from 65325513 on Vimeo.

“Building Blocks NYC is dedicated to ending the epidemic of construction fatalities in New York City by setting rigorous safety training standards for all construction workers through passing Intro 1447,” the unions said in a release.

The commissioner of the the city’s Department of Buildings reportedly called Cruz’s death “completely preventable.”

“There should have been tie offs with his personal protection equipment, which he was wearing,” Rick Chandler told the Daily News last week.

The DOB issued a stop-work order at the site on the day Cruz died, records show.

The bill Building Blocks NYC promotes has more than 20 sponsors, including councilmen Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez.

It has also drawn criticism from opponents who say it would ultimately take work away from non-union workers — many of whom are minorities — and put non-union construction groups at a disadvantage.

The first hearing for the bill took place at the end of January.