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Two city firms accused of faking construction safety inspections

They are normally hairdressers, day laborers, short-order cooks and musicians. But according to recently filed criminal charges, the people were hired by two New York City companies to pretend to be licensed construction site safety managers. The cooks, stylists and rockers allegedly forged signatures of real safety managers to make it appear as if sites had passed inspections.

According to a media report, the ruse began to unravel a year ago when a building inspector looking at scaffolding in Manhattan noticed something unusual in the site's safety log: the signature of a dead safety manager. Officials launched an investigation that resulted in the criminal charges against the two firms that supply safety managers to construction worksites.

The companies apparently hired the people off of Craigslist; many of the alleged impostors simply forged inspectors' signatures and skipped the pretense of doing a fake inspection. The district attorney says the ruse was carried out at 43 city sites over two years; many of the sites where scaffolding was being used to enable workers to restore facades.

As veterans of the construction industry know, falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in that line of work. Falls from scaffolding can be particularly damaging, often leading to serious injuries that leave workers unable to resume work for extended periods. Sometimes the injured can never go back to work because of long-term injury effects.

Those injured in scaffolding accidents or other construction site falls should go over their legal options with a personal injury attorney before discussing anything with an insurance company representative.  

Source: New York Times, "2 Companies Accused of Faking Safety Checks at Building Sites," James C. McKinley Jr., July 2, 2014

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