Albany, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today was honored by the NYS Laborers and the NYS Pipefitters and Plumbers at their respective events in Warren County. The Governor was presented with the “Champion of Organized Labor” award by the Laborers and the “NY Builder” award by the Pipefitters and Plumbers. These awards come on the heels of the Governor's presentation of a comprehensive vision to transform LaGuardia airport.
Additionally, the Governor also signed legislation to protect workers who are involved in the cleanup of mold from harm. The law modifies and improves upon a new licensing requirement for contractors and workers engaged in the assessment, remediation and abatement of mold.
“New York is New York because we dared to do what people said was impossible – and today, we are doing it again,” said Governor Cuomo. “From building a new Tappan Zee Bridge to fundamentally reimagining LaGuardia airport, we are taking on big, visionary projects in New York. It's not easy, but together with our brothers and sisters in organized labor we are getting it done and we are building a new future for this state – and I am proud to be a partner in that effort.”
Dr. Jim Melius, Administrator, NYS Laborers Health and Safety Trust Fund, said, “Governor Cuomo has proven himself as a true champion for working class people and organized labor, and he's been that way since day one of taking office. You're seeing the proof of it all across the state – from the resurgence of building projects in Buffalo to the new Tappan Zee Bridge that is rising over the Hudson, and yesterdays' announcement of a new LaGuardia, our union and our state are better off because of Andrew Cuomo. That is why today, we are pleased to honor Governor Cuomo, a true champion and advocate for organized labor, across the board with the "Champion of Organized Labor" award.”
Jim Cahill, International Representative for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and President of the NYS Building Trades, said, “Governor Cuomo is doing what no other Governor in the nation is doing right now, which is tackling big infrastructure projects with the next century in mind. In fact, thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York State is spending more money on capital construction projects than under any other Governor in history. That's the leadership we need in state government, and I am proud to honor Governor Cuomo with the “NY Builder” award for his dramatic and effective efforts to rebuild New York State.”
In addition to receiving these awards, the Governor signed legislation to protect workers and homeowners involved in mold remediation efforts. The law modifies and improves upon a new licensing requirement for contractors and workers engaged in the assessment, remediation and abatement of mold.
“This is a great step in the right direction for our workers in the city who deal with mold assessments and remediation,” said New York State Senator Diane J. Savino. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo and this new legislation, we will be able to ensure that all New York City contractors, as well as our average New Yorkers, are adequately equipped and trained to deal with these various jobs dealing with mold.”
“Many Superstorm Sandy victims unfortunately found that those who claimed to fix their mold problem were actually unqualified scammers who took their money and left their homes in dangerous condition,” said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. “Thanks to this bill, and Governor Cuomo, such an occurrence will not happen again. This bill establishes that those who are given licenses for mold inspection and remediation will be duly qualified to preform those tasks. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important piece of legislation and for his concern for the many storm victims across my district.”
The new license will be issued by the State Department of Labor following the completion of the applicable state approved training program. The new licensing and training scheme protects consumers by requiring contractors to obtain appropriate training prior to performing mold assessment, remediation or abatement services. Contractors would be banned from advertising and performing these actions without this license, with limited exceptions such as home or business owners performing work on their own properties. In order to receive a license, contractors must meet certain minimum standards including being at least 18 years old and having the necessary training, insurance and workers compensation coverage.
The licensing scheme provides for the authorization of new minimum work standards for mold assessments and remediation activities by licensed professionals, including:
Protection against fraud by prohibiting the performance of both the assessment and remediation on the same property by the same individual;
Protection against fraud by requiring an independent mold assessment to define the scope of the remediation work;
Identification of disinfectant products, consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards;
Provision of personal protection equipment to employees, as necessary;
Posted notice of the project and the contractor's licenses; and
Completion of a post-remediation assessment.
Finally, violations of the law will be civil penalties in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Prior to any license denial or revocation, or issuance of a fine, the Department of Labor would be required to notify the applicant or licensee of the action and provide an opportunity for a hearing on the action. All actions would be subject to judicial review.