30 arrested in NYC scaffold card fraud

By Lindsey Anderson01 November 2012

Top New York City officials recently made 30 arrests after discovering a fraudulent scaffold certification ring. A construction company owner has been charged with possessing 32 fake scaffold certification cards he had made, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These cards are required to work on scaffolding in NYC.

Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation, and Buildings DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri conducted a two-week sweep where more than 70 cards were confiscated by police, OSHA said.

According to OSHA, one person who was arrested was charged with possessing 32 fake scaffold certification cards that he made by altering real safety cards. Since the sweep, partial and full stop work orders have been issued at 14 construction sites for a variety of violations including unapproved installation of supported scaffolding.

“In this day and age, there is no excuse for having untrained scaffold erectors on the job,” said Marty Coughlin, president of the Scaffold & Access Industry Association (SAIA) and president of Dependable Scaffolding, LLC . “Training is provided at low cost and sometimes is free from scaffold suppliers, trade unions, trade associations, union apprentice programs, SAIA accredited training institutes and more.”

The department launched the operation after DOB reported in September that its inspectors had found fraudulent scaffold certification cards at work sites across Manhattan. The sweep began with DOI investigators and DOB inspectors visiting 16 work sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens beginning in mid-October

“This was clearly a willful act that not only put the employees at risk, but everyone on the jobsite who will be working on the scaffolding and relying on the scaffolding to be erected safely and within code,” Coughlin said.

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