Construction-related fatalities have increased, and investigators for New York City have been busting workers who have forged safety cards that were not issued by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Workers must complete safety courses taught by OSHA employees in order to decrease on-the-job accidents. However, some workers thumb their noses at the training sessions and use the forged cards instead. Already in 2015, there have been over 20 employees busted for attempting to work with these reportedly fake OSHA cards.
The Buildings Department and the Department of Investigation conducted the sweeps that are taking place as there has been an uptick in NYC construction deaths in the most recent federal fiscal year.
Five arrests were made on Oct. 17 at two different job sites for new housing construction in the Bronx and Queens.
New York Police Department detectives joined personnel from the two agencies in making the arrests for possession of allegedly forged OSHA cards. An additional 19 workers were removed from the job sites for having no OSHA cards whatsoever.
According to a Buildings Department spokesman, "numerous inspectors from the Scaffold Safety unit visited various sites where they identified workers carrying OSHA and scaffold training cards that appeared fraudulent." This has been going on for at least 18 months.
One of the sites where the arrests were made is at 280 East Burnside Ave., in the Bronx -- one of the sites of Mayor de Blasio's preservation and building campaign for 200,000 affordable units to be built within the next decade.
There have been numerous safety issues at the Bronx site. Two times, the Buildings Department shut down the construction when they learned that contractors were working with no site safety plans.
When a site safety manager was placed at the job site, he reported that one worker fell down four feet from a ladder.
This crackdown occurs even as contractors complain that there are too few qualified safety managers on the site.
On construction sites, safety should be everyone's priority. If you have been injured on the job, you can file a damage claim and pursue litigation should you choose to do so.
Source: New York Daily News, "EXCLUSIVE: NYC cracking down on workers with fake OSHA cards to stop construction-related deaths," Greg B. Smith, Oct. 26, 2015