Undercover Daily News reporters found that trainers were teaching 10-hour federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses in two hours. During breaks, some students allegedly drank beers at the bar below the training classroom.
"It's very worrisome. We depend on OSHA to train the workers here so that you're safe when you walk by a construction site, so that the people who work on that site are safe," Bloomberg said.
In a recent MSNBC article, “Would You Like a Beer with That OSHA Training?” the author chronicled how New York has been “dangerously negligent” in carrying out the mandatory safety training.
“Cheating is rampant. I hear lots of stories about guys getting OSHA cards in the back of a bar,” Martin Daly, head of training for the District Council of Carpenters told The News.
The $125 safety course was designed to prevent the types of construction accidents that have killed 19 people and injured 181 others last year alone.
But The News reporter found that instead of fostering, discussing and outlining procedures to deal with live electricity or prevent falls the course trainer simply showed the class a few videos and slideshows.
This attitude toward workplace safety isn’t an isolated occurrence. Studies show that negligence and cutting corners on safety training is a growing national problem.
According to a December survey of workers in the mechanical, electrical, facilities, utilities and plumbing (MEP) fields, almost half of respondents said their employer did not have a budget for training in 2009. One in four workers could not remember or had not been trained yet in a work-related safety procedure or process.
As a result of the recession, businesses have been cutting training and important safety initiatives out of the budget. It’s a decision that puts employees in danger of serious injuries and has businesses risking serious OSHA fines.
Read some of our related posts on the dangers of cutting safety initiatives out of the budget and how to save money on employee training:
Investing in leadership development during a downturn
Recession-proof employee training tips
Is our economy causing more workplace injuries?
Employee training and the 2009 budget battle