Although there have been recent cases of fraudulent Enform training certificates popping up at job sites in British Columbia and Alberta, Jeff Safioles, Manager of Health and Safety at Enform, insists that the public shouldn't be nervous about the health and safety standards of the oil and gas industry.
There have been about ten cases of counterfeit certificates dating back to last year, most of those being the H2S Alive tickets issued by Enform, the safety association for the upstream oil and gas industry.
"It's kind of the staple of safety training courses that people have to take to be able to work in the industry," Safioles said of H2S Alive. "So, we train over 100,000 people a year in that."
"These forged certificates - or fraudulent certificates - they represent a very small number in comparison to the total," he added.
Safioles chalks these instances up to the fact that many people will try to take shortcuts when possible. The H2S Alive course takes six to eight hours at a cost of $160 to $180. It is believed that some individuals obtained their fraudulent certificates after only a fifteen minute session for just $150.
"What they're trying to do is really kind of short circuiting or taking a shortcut to competency," said Safioles. "I mean, competency some of it's training, some of it's experience, some of it's feedback from their supervisor. But the training piece is what they're trying to bypass."
"The [certificates] in northeast B.C., in particular, those were forged by an individual and being sold to people," he added. "We also have individuals [forging them] on their own. Somebody they know gives them their valid certificate and they try and modify it to make it look like theirs. That kind of thing happens as well."
Lucie Janosek, Acting Manager of the Enform campus in Fort St. John - an area where a number of the counterfeit certificates were discovered - finds the idea that individuals thought they were obtaining legitimate certificates for just fifteen minutes of instruction "tough to swallow."
"If people are being told they can get a ticket for anything less than [a six to eight hour session and $160 to $180]," said Janosek, "I would be very suspicious and call our office to verify."
The counterfeit tickets first came to the attention of Enform when an individual checking credentials at a worksite noticed a certificate that didn't look quite right. Enform was contacted and able to confirm that it was fraudulent. Counterfeit certificates are fairly easy to spot, as Enform uses thermo-chromic ink and micro-print as security features on their certificates.
"There's two key messages," said Safioles. "One is that people in the industry are doing a good job, for the most part, of checking to make sure people have the right credentials to get onto a worksite. The second important thing here is that people are actually getting training to be able to work in the industry and understand the hazards they're dealing with and how to deal with those hazards. That's the training part. That's part of their becoming competent to work in the industry. So, what we're really concerned about is people might be out there working that don't have the correct training."
The RCMP is conducting a fraud investigation into the counterfeit certificates. That investigation is currently ongoing.