7 On Your Side Investigates: New construction safety training is easy to cheat

NEW YORK (WABC) -- After more than 40 New York City construction fatalities since 2015, the City Council passed local law 196 that requires 10 to 30 hours of new safety training for nearly all construction workers.

To prevent cheating, the law specifically requires that the instruction must be monitored or proctored.

"The 196 law has very specific language that says that the room where training takes place has to be proctored to confirm the individual taking the training is the actual person," construction safety expert Michael Pinto said.

But a 7 On Your Side investigation, along with research by a safety advocacy group, found the online website training is not being monitored.

Test takers for the safety advocacy group, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, were able to get Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification for 7 On Your Side investigative reporter Jim Hoffer, even though he never took the 10-hour training course.

The group was also able to get certification for cartoon character Fred Flintstone.
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After more than 40 New York City construction fatalities since 2015, the City Council passed a law requiring new safety training

"That's not good," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who co-sponsored the construction training law.

Brewer said our findings clearly show that without the required monitoring, the law's intent is greatly diminished.

"The buildings department is not doing its job," she said. "Monitoring is mandatory."

Department of Buildings spokesman Joseph Soldevere said the federal OSHA is responsible for the safety training, adding, "We are developing our own program to vet and approve training providers directly, and we will investigate the concerns raised by WABC as part of that process. If necessary, we will report incidents of fraud to law enforcement."

But a spokesman for the safety advocacy group countered.

"That's classic passing the buck," the spokesman said. "City law requires the city to ensure the new training is monitored."


Jim Hoffer, Danielle Leigh and the 7 On Your Side Investigates team at Eyewitness News want to hear from you! Call our confidential tip line 1-877-TIP-NEWS (847-6397) or fill out the form BELOW.

You can also contact Jim and Danielle directly:

Jim Hoffer:
Email your questions, issues, or story ideas to 7OnYourSideJim@abc.com
Facebook: facebook.com/jimhoffer.wabc
Twitter: @NYCinvestigates

Danielle Leigh
Email your questions, issues, or story ideas to 7OnYourSideDanielle@abc.com
Facebook: DanielleLeighJournalist
Twitter: @DanielleNLeigh

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