In today’s Best for NYC Challenge post I want to continue the train of thought from my discussion on government mandates. In short, if something is worth doing, we should do it whether or not we are required to do so. The specific example I have in mind right now is scaffold training.
When I started work in 1987, there was no mandatory training (as far as I know) for architects and engineers before we were allowed to go on scaffolds. I climbed standing scaffold and I rode swing stages and I learned how by watching riggers. Some of the scaffold foremen took pity on me and gave me some good advice on how stay safe. (Thanks particularly to Ronnie and Big Ray.) The New York Department of Buildings now requires training, although there is an exemption for licensed professionals. That exemption makes sense from the public safety perspective, as we all want the architects and engineers directing work to be allowed on the scaffold, but it makes less sense from the personal safety perspective, since nothing in the ordinary training of design professionals teaches us how to safely use scaffolding.
So, OSE pays for scaffold training for all engineers. (The training has to be repeated every four years.) The unlicensed engineers need the ID card from the class to prove that they have been trained; the licensed engineers need the class because we need to keep our training current.