The high injury and fatality rates of the construction industry are common knowledge. Much has happened to try to reduce the numbers over the years, from stricter liability laws to safer work equipment. Yet, the rates are still too high.
New York City has recently responded with an additional protective measure, local law 196, that requires detailed safety training for specific construction workers and supervisors. The deadline to complete the first stage of training was back in March 2018. The last two stages go through September 2020, for a minimum total of 40 or 62 hours of training depending on a person’s job site role. Some courses are mandatory, whereas other are electives participants can choose to fulfill the requirement.
Cheating the system
While this law seems promising, it has already presented some issues. One of them is that the system is easy to cheat. Despite the regulation to monitor training in person to prevent cheating, fraud still occurs online. An investigation by 7 On Your Side and a safety advocacy group led the team to being able to secure OSHA certification for a reporter who did not complete training and for the cartoon character Fred Flintstone.
The city says that OSHA, which provides the courses workers must take, is responsible for stopping the cheating. However, the advocacy group believes the city should be accountable for its own local laws. Regardless of whoever should be in charge of monitoring, the effects are the same: construction employees who risk accident and injury due to insufficient training and implementation of safety standards.
Workers are the ones who end up paying the price of those who cheat the system, whether it comes from employers, supervisors or other workers. Improved measures are necessary to eliminate this glitch and increase the physical security of New York City construction workers. Those who sustain injuries on the job can hold employers accountable.