Tuesday, June 21, 2016

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.

Security issues came up several times at the meeting.

Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.

After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.

Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the representative for developer Greenland Forest City Partners, asked Bailey to send the video he shot of the encounter.
"We have no problem removing the individual if they're not performing to standards," Reid said.

Harassment issues


Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association followed up on the developer's new plan to have construction workers at the various sites wear color-coded stickers and identification badges to associate themselves with different sites.
While I wrote in May that, at least according to Cotton's response at a meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), new workers were not given a specific directive warning them about sexual harassment--which triggered the new system--

Steve LaSala, project director at Tishman's sites, B3 and B14, described the general safety orientation training for workers, then the company's zero tolerance for smoking and drinking. Workers are told not to engage with pedestrians or the public, and are told about harassment, he said.

About 200 workers have the color-coded stickers. When the managers see hardhats around the community, he said, "we know from color of sticker what project they're connected to." Since he got there in mid-March, " I haven't seen or heard of any type of incident."

Visibility issues


At the AY CDC in March, Cotton was asked if workers were required to wear their helmets off site, such as at the corner store or at lunch.

“They're don’t take the stuff off,” Cotton said. “They’re in their jackets and hats all the time.”
Anecdotal evidence, as well as Instagram posts, show the record is more spotty.

At the Community Update meeting, Krashes said he'd never seen workers wearing IDs, and often sees construction workers not wearing hats. He asked how many workers were using stickers and ID system.

"It's an ongoing process," LaSala said, noting that new subcontractors would come on site. "From my perspective, we have had full compliance." Still, he said, "Obviously there is a limit to what we can do when someone goes out for coffee or lunchtime or at the end of the day."

Does the ID have to be visible, asked Krashes, or could it be in a worker's pocket.

"Not always," said Reid, noting that a lanyard around a worker's neck could be hazardous if caught in a piece of equipment.

Krashes followed up by asking what percentage of construction workers are visibly wearing an ID.

Tishman safety directors Miguel Padin noted, "We're working construction, not sitting behind a computer... The thing we want is a worker to be caught up or tripped by one of these lanyards." He suggested the sticker and ID are "more of a control measure than anything else." (I'm not sure if "control measure" means internal control measure.)

"Most guys and gals keep their hard hats on when they walk around the area," Contton said, "but it's not a requirement." 

She agreed the process may need refinement. "Frankly, Peter, I admit, we've seen people without IDs, "We're going to continue to evolve and refine it.... I think your questions make perfect sense."

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