A construction worker is required by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to take safety courses related to his or her line of work and receive an OSHA training card. However, New York City construction workers are trying to avoid the mandatory training entirely by carrying fake OSHA cards. As a result, the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) and the Buildings Department are working together to weed out any and all workers attempting to perform construction duties without proper training.
New York City is known for its numerous high-rise buildings and construction sites, but the innovation comes at a price. The city’s construction fatalities increased from 12 to 18 in the past federal fiscal year. That’s why state officials must take the illegal activity seriously. The city’s sweep of fraudulent OSHA cards has already led to more than 20 arrests throughout the city, NY Daily News reports.
A spokesman with the buildings department confirmed that just in the last 18 months “numerous inspectors from the Scaffold Safety unit visited various sites where they identified workers carrying OSHA and scaffold training cards that appeared fraudulent.” The incidents were referred to DOI, which “made arrests when necessary.”
Unfortunately, the crackdown on illegal OSHA cards has also led to a shortage of qualified site safety managers. Without knowledgeable site managers, various construction sites are shut down for different intervals while the contractor attempts to fix the safety issues.
Alexander Shnell, a spokesman for the Buildings Department, told NY Daily News that the “total universe” of site safety applicants was 102 in 2013 and 2014. However, since then, only 31 have been approved by the agency.
“The remaining ones didn’t pass the examination or were not granted approval for other reasons based upon lack of qualification,” Schnell said. As of September, 26 of the applicants passed the qualification test to become a site safety manager and are currently under review for approval. Out of the 26, seven have been waiting longer than six months to be approved, according to Schnell.
Source: NY Daily News