New York authorities have busted 30 construction workers at job sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn for allegedly carrying fake scaffold certification cards.
Three of the individuals were charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, and the remaining individuals were charged with the class A misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree.
The two-week sweep was initiated after the Department of Buildings reported to the Department of Inspections in September that inspectors had found fraudulent scaffold certification cards at numerous work sites in Manhattan.
During the investigation inspectors from both agencies visited 16 worksites in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
During the sweep investigators confiscated more than 70 fake scaffolding cards. These forged cards displayed numbers that were never issued and training courses that did not exist, used thin paper instead of plastic, and included typos, among other irregularities. Defendants indicated they purchased individual bogus cards for between approximately $25 and $450 at locations throughout the city.
In New York Valid scaffold certification cards are required under Local Law 52 and must be obtained from OSHA, OSHA-trained or certified providers, or a provider of a training course reviewed by DOB.
Separately, workers performing construction work at major New York City buildings must complete an approved course in construction safety approved by OSHA.
The operation also resulted in partial and full stop work orders issued at 14 construction sites for a variety of violations, including unapproved installation of supported scaffolding.
“Safety at construction sites is a priority, and this joint sweep underscores the city’s commitment to enforcement,” said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said. “Using fake certifications to bypass required training is wrongdoing that puts workers and the public at risk and will not be tolerated. I commend the DOI investigators and the DOB inspectors who uncovered and stopped this hazardous conduct. DOI’s effort in this area continues.”