Safety First News
Fraudulent OSHA Training Cards? A Disturbing Trend
March 4, 2018
Two OSHA Area Directors reported in a recent Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) meeting that a disturbing trend of fraudulent OSHA training cards are being distributed, oftentimes with full knowledge of the recipients.
The Houston North and South Area Offices both reported an uptick in cases of fraudulent OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training cards being distributed in Texas and nationwide. Virtually all of the fraudulent cards were intended to pass for construction training cards because many municipalities and general contractors are now requiring OSHA authorized training for subcontractor foremen and workers before work can begin.
The OSHA authorized training cards are part of a 36-year-old Outreach Training Program created by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to help extend the agency’s training and educational effects for employers and workers.
Over the years, the Outreach Training Program has trained more and more workers to be safer at work. In 2017, over 900,000 workers were said to have completed OSHA authorized training, and between the years 2012 and 2016, over 3.94 million workers were trained by OSHA authorized trainers.
OSHA Outreach Trainers undergo a training, testing and authorization process to become official OSHA Outreach Trainers, who can then train, test and issue training cards to workers and employers who pay for the training. However, some trainers choose not to provide the training in accordance with the program requirements, which include specifics regarding format, content and time spent on the materials. A more pronounced recent trend is a more brazen practice of just issuing OSHA training cards in exchange for cash –with no training whatsoever.
Anyone fraudulently shortcutting the OSHA Outreach Training Program’s prescribed training format is subject to criminal prosecution. “OSHA will not tolerate fraudulent activity or unscrupulous trainers when workers’ health and lives may be at stake,” said Jordan Barab of OSHA.
In response to the fraudulent activity, OSHA has added resources to increase unannounced monitoring visits to verify trainer compliance with program requirements. Fraudulent activity will be referred to the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General for prosecution.
OSHA is asking the public to use a fraud hotline (847-297-4810) to file complaints about possible fraudulent training or card-issuing practices. OSHA has also developed a watch list of trainers who have received disciplinary action related to the OSHA Outreach Training process. These trainers caught by OSHA will be posted on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/watchlist.html.
So if you are a general contractor at your job site and you see a swarm of workers around a pickup truck, frantically lining up to pay for slips of paper, it may be worth investigating.