Watch out for These OSHA Scams

OSHA Scam Artist
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 OSHA posters are free. But you wouldn't know it by hearing from the many businesses in the U.S. who are subject to the tricksters out there trying to sell OSHA posters and OSHA compliance kits. The "OSHA Poster Scam" is one of the most common, because many businesses are not aware of OSHA regulations or they think the regulations don't apply to them.

What Is OSHA? 

OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), was formed in 1971 to protect workers from accident and injury while on the job. All employers who have one or more employees are required to comply with OSHA regulations. In addition to the standards for hazardous substances, bloodborne pathogens, and fire/egress, OSHA requires that employers train employees for a variety of situations in the workplace.

What Is an OSHA Poster? 

One of the most basic OSHA regulations is the requirement to place a poster "in a conspicuous place where workers can see it." (That means, don't try to put it in a closet.)

The poster describes the rights of workers under OSHA and requirements of employers.

California's OSHA Agency says,

employers have received threatening notices, messages, or telephone calls from various companies saying that to be in compliance with OSHA rules and regulations, the employer must buy the OSHA documents from them.

OSHA does not sell these posters; they are free. And OSHA would never send anyone out to attempt to sell posters.

How to Comply With the OSHA Poster Regulations

As a matter of fact, here's the poster, in 8 1/2 x 11 format, in PDF: OSHA POSTER  OSHA requires that reproductions or facsimiles of the poster be at least 8.5" x 14" inches with 10 point type.The poster (in English or Spanish) is available free from the IRS website, and there are specific instructions for how to download an OSHA-compliant poster.

Other OSHA Scams

Another popular scam is for salespeople to attempt to sell businesses an "OSHA compliance kit" that is supposed to meet all the requirements of OSHA. But the only "kit" that OSHA requires is a first-aid kit; there are specific requirements about what must be in a first aid kit for every business. You can get them at a local drugstore and put the kit together yourself.

Healthcare facilities and other businesses that have additional exposure to bloodborne pathogens require additional materials and fake inspectors or salespeople may appear to attempt to require you to buy this kit. 

Hazardous Substances are another area for OSHA scam artists, who may want to sell you a hazardous substance cleanup kit. Learn more about the hazardous substances regulations to avoid being the victim of this scam. 

You may also be the victim of an OSHA inspection scam, in which a fake OSHA inspector shows up at your doorstep. These fake OSHA inspectors perform an "inspection" then coerce the business owner into buying products or services to avoid violations. Legitimate OSHA inspectors do not require fines to be paid during the inspection, nor do they require employers to purchase products or services from OSHA.

If you have doubts about the identity of the inspector, you may want to excuse yourself for a minute and call your nearest OSHA office to verify the identity of the inspector. 

More Information From OSHA

OSHA has several "quick start" compliance programs you can view online, to gain knowledge of the basics of OSHA. One is for small businesses in general, 

If You Suspect Fraud

If you suspect that the salesperson at your door is fraudulent, you can contact OSHA at 800/321-OSHA (6742).​ 

Read about other scams and frauds that businesses should watch out for.