An employee of a company that purports to provide trained safety consultants for local construction projects has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that he was provided with fraudulent safety certifications by his employer.
Jefferson Carandang said that DR Safety Consultant gave him counterfeit documents. These documents that he didn't earn supposedly certified him as a qualified health safety environmental engineer who has successfully completed the Naval Facilities Engineering Command construction safety course, an OSHA construction safety program, and aerial lift and scaffolding “fall protection” training, among other safety certifications.
“I was hired to be trained as a safety officer. I didn’t have any training, no credentials, no nothing,” Carandang said. “They were supposed to train me.”
In addition, Carandang claims DR Safety Consultant “doctored” his resume by adding work history that never existed.
Company President David Rillera Jr. denied the allegations. He said Carandang stole the certifications and other company documents and forged them himself.
FAA tower contract
Carandang told The Guam Daily Post last week he started work at DR Safety Consultant on June 17 and was given a safety training book to study. He expected that he would have time to take the required online courses and complete the testing to obtain the required certifications he needed.
However, one week after he started, Carandang said, he was assigned as the lead safety officer for the repair and painting of the exterior of the Federal Aviation Administration’s tower at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport.
The federally funded project was awarded by the FAA to Citi Development and Construction Inc., which, in turn, hired DR Safety Consultant to provide the safety inspector for the job.
“On Monday the 24th of June they gave me all the certificates needed to become a safety officer,” Carandang said. “The problem is, I have no safety training.
“No test, no training, they just handed me all the safety certifications,” he said. Some of the certifications are backdated to February and May, although Carandang only started work with the company in June.
In a phone interview with the Post on Friday, Rillera said anything having to do with Carandang’s allegations “would have to be taken up with my lawyers.”
However, when asked if he provided Carandang with falsified safety documents, Rillera said, “Nope.” Rillera said Carandang was fired because he “was a no-call, no-show worker.”
Carandang says he got the runaround when trying to report what he believes to be fraud.
He said he went to the Office of the Attorney General, Guam Police Department and the governor’s office. Each office advised they could not take his complaint and they referred him to another office. The Guam Department of Labor eventually referred him to the OSHA office in Honolulu.
GDOL special projects officer Malory Cruz confirmed that Carandang “completed a pre-screening form,” which was reviewed.
The Guam Department of Labor primarily investigates cases of workplace discrimination, said Cruz, but “because this is more of a case of fraud, we referred him to OSHA and advised him to file a complaint under the whistleblower law.”
Carandang confirmed that he spoke with OSHA and sent them documentation to support his claims. He was advised “they would look into it.”
Carandang also said that he reported his claims to the FBI. Spokeswoman Michelle Ernst declined to comment.
Business license but no contractor's license
DR Safety Consultant is located on Route 8 in Barrigada. The company was established in 2011. They have offices on Guam and Saipan.
According to its website, the company "has grown tremendously with the demand of construction safety programs.” In addition the website states: "We have also expanded our business as a general construction contractor, as well as a safety supply and equipment vendor.”
However, Guam Contractors Licensing Board Executive Director Cecil Orsini says no contractor’s license has been issued to DR Safety Consultant. He has assigned an investigator to look into the matter.
Guam Contractors Association Executive Director James Martinez said he has heard of the company, but it is not a member of the contractors association.
DR Safety Consultant has a wholesale business license issued by the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The license expires on March 31, 2020.
The company's service license expired on March 31 of this year, according to Rev and Tax records.