The New York City Council passed the final two construction safety bills that complete Mayor Bloomberg's 12-point legislative agenda, announced last June following a fatal crane collapse.

Introductory Number 760 authorizes the Department of Buildings to assign a safety compliance officer?at the owner's expense?to construction sites with poor safety records. Introductory Number 878 requires contractors carrying out major construction, demolition, and concrete work to obtain a safety registration number from the Department in order to perform work in New York City.

"This tool will give the Department an unprecedented ability to track contractors across construction sites and get a true picture of who has the best safety records and who must be held accountable for unsafe jobs that endanger workers and the public," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Bob Peckar, founding partner of the international construction law firm Peckar & Abramson, is leery of the feasibility of these latest regulations. "It is clear that the engineering profession will have some very serious legal and risk management problems with the regulations as described," Peckar says. "It is one thing to legislate what engineers will do and another thing to find engineers willing and able to take the responsibility and risk to do so."

Peckar adds that the Mayor's sweeping legislation package is a plus for the city but not necessarily the reason why the Big Apple has seen a reduction in construction accidents over the past few months. "The calm in terms of accidents that have occurred has not been the result of the legislative package," he says. "It has been a return to the normal safe conditions which have characterized New York City's construction industry for years and the initiatives of the major contractors on their own to assure the highest level of safe conditions."