— The New York City Council
recently passed several bills, including one bill prohibiting crews from performing simultaneous asbestos abatement and demolition projects, according to a press release
The new bill, passed in late November 2009 and recently signed into law, prohibits demolition and asbestos abatement from being performed at the same time until city officials have visited a site and determined that the work can be done safely, the release stated.
The reasoning behind the decision is that demolition work increases the risk of a fire, while asbestos containment materials meant to prevent asbestos dust from leaving the abatement area impedes access for firefighters, the release noted.
According to the release, the combination can easily become "a death trap" for firefighters and abatement workers alike.
The increased risks came to fruition in 2007 after two firefighters died in a fire at the former Deutsche Bank
building that was undergoing both demolition and asbestos abatement, prompting the push for strict, regulatory legislation, the release added.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "The bills before me today relate to two specific areas: Enforcing safety and construction and demolition sites and strengthening standpipe and sprinkler safety. Construction work has inherent risks, but these bills will mitigate those risks and better protect emergency responders, workers and the public."