NYC Taking Action on Construction Workers with Fake OSHA Cards
Numbers of construction workers dying at construction sites have been rising. With this on mind, a lot of city investigators started showing up at job sites quietly and unexpectedly to check the workers’ OSHA cards. They have been arresting workers who have fake safety training cards. Today, we will explore the problems with the fake OSHA cards and how NYC is taking action.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been requiring workers to take safety courses run by them in order to reduce accidents at job sites, but over the year, new problems have been raised. Some workers blew off the courses and used fake OSHA cards to claim that they were certified and trained. Of course, this is a problem because they haven’t actually passed the training.
Since the beginning of 2015, over 20 workers have been arrested at city construction sites for having fake OSHA cards. The investigation was carried out by the Department of Investigation and the Buildings Department. They have started investigating after the fatalities of construction activities increased from 18 fatalities last year, while it was 12 the year before. The last arrest happened on the 17th of October, at construction sites in Queens and the Bronx, as five workers were handcuffed and led away.
The five construction workers were arrested by NYPD detectives and the Building Department for possessing fake OSHA cards. Other than these workers, 19 workers were found with no OSHA cards at all. Two workers were also charged with two counts each for possessing fake instruments, one which was a fake OSHA card and the other a fake driver’s license on October 17th.
Obtained OSHA Cards
A spokesman of buildings department claimed that over the investigation they had carried for 18 months, inspectors from Scaffold Safety Unit have visited numerous sites where they found workers with scaffold and OSHA training cards that were obtained by deception. The Department of Investigation carried out arrests when it is necessary.
Mark Peters, the Commissioner of the department of Investigation, refused to comment on the ongoing investigations. One of the sites they are investigating is the part of Mayor de Blasio’s campaign in order to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units in 10 years. The Bronx and 280 East Burnside Avenue is included. This will also include 40 apartments that are subsidized by taxpayers, which are a lot more affordable than the usual.
The Department of Investigations trying their best to find more fake OSHA cards carriers in order to have a more qualified construction world.
The Bronx Site
There are a lot of safety issues that have been interrupting the construction works on the Bronx site. The Buildings Department has shut it down twice after finding some contractors who were working without any site safety plans. The site safety manager that was put by Contractor Walison Corporation reported that by January, there is a worker who fell off a 40 ft ladder.
The second time the Buildings Department shut it down is on the 21st of September, it is because they found out that work was not being performed.
Hunters Point, Queens
On the exact same weekend, there were three workers who were arrested for possessing fake OSHA cards at 23-01 42nd Road in Hunters Point, Queens. They are construction workers of an ongoing 28-story apartment tower. The investigation was carried out after some contractors complained about the drop in the number of site safety managers. After getting this complains, an investigation was carried out, and they found these three workers.
Managers Seeking Licenses
The president of a trade group that is representing safety officers, Mike Arvanites, claimed that he has pressured the Buildings Department to be faster in approving trained managers who are seeking licenses. Alexander Schnell, the spokesman of the agency said that the grand total of site safety applicants in 2013, and 2014 was 102. He also claimed that since then only 31 have been approved. Schnell said that the remaining ones did not get approved because they lacked qualification or they did not pass the examination.
26 applicants who have passed the qualification test were under review for approval by September. Seven of them have been waiting for more than six months. The lack in the quickness in approval might be one of the main causes why there are a lot of allegedly fake OSHA cards in the construction world.
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The increase in the death and accident tolls has caused suspicion, which led to investigations carried out by the Buildings Department and other departments. By the investigations, they found out that there are a lot of workers who are not actually qualified for the work, and ongoing investigations look forward to cracking down on fake OSHA cards.