New York is a dangerous state to be a construction worker, due in part to construction work in the Big Apple. According to NBC New York, at one point, 30 people died due to construction-related accidents during a two-year period in New York City. One of the reasons that safety continues to be a problem is the sale of black market safety cards.
When construction workers take on big projects, they are required to complete 10 hours of safety training. A card certifies that they completed this training. One result of buying fake cards is that many of the deaths and injuries in New York result from preventable actions workers would have learned about in training.
There are several reasons workers resort to purchasing fake cards. The first is that they may not speak English, which may make it difficult for them to complete training. Another problem is that workers are worried about missing time at work. A former OSHA enforcement officer told NBC New York that this has been going on for almost a decade.
CBS New York reports a 33% increase in deaths on work sites compared to half a decade ago. Even worse, work-site injuries increased by 221% for that same period of time. While construction work has always been one of America’s most dangerous professions, these figures give cause for concern. In New York City, where the problem is at its worst, a quarter of 45,000 work sites are non-compliant.
By 2020, OSHA intends to increase training hour requirements to 40. However, if workers can still continue to purchase illegal cards, there is unlikely to be a corresponding positive effect.