News & Politics

City Has Fined Workers, Sites $1.8 Million for Smoking on the Job


We knew the city didn’t like construction workers drinking on the job. They apparently don’t like the workers smoking, either. In less than a year the Department of Buildings has doled out 932 violations and $1.8 million in fines, says the New York Post, some for smoking, some for failure to post signs telling them not to smoke. The Deutsche Bank fire, which was caused by a carelessly discarded cigar, has made them more sensitive about it.

Existing ordinances against the practice were stiffened last month by the city council, which passed new “zero-tolerance ” laws that focus on asbestos abatement sites like Deutsche Bank, where workers are not allowed to even carry unlit smokes, but also affect other construction sites. “Smoking bans at construction, demolition, and abatement sites can help prevent potential fires and save innocent lives,” said councilmember Tish James.

It’s hard to see the danger of beating a heater while mixing cement, but we no longer live in a world where such matters are left to the discretion of the hardhats. Maybe the salt pill dispensers they used to have at some work sites can be retrofitted for nicotine gum.

Photo (cc) kouk.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 3, 2009

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