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OSHA "watch list" identifies fraudulent trainers (8/6)

August 6, 2009

In an effort to crack down on fraudulent trainers, OSHA is continuing to strengthen the integrity of its 36-year-old Outreach Training Program by publishing an "Outreach Trainer Watch List" of those who have had their trainer authorizations either revoked or suspended, according to an OSHA press release.

OSHA recently conducted an undercover investigation as part of its heightened effort to address fraudulent activity by trainers authorized through the OSHA Outreach Training Program. The investigation of a 10-hour course conducted by Don Barker, environmental health and safety director for Thor Construction in Las Vegas, revealed several examples of failure to comply with program guidelines. Barker's infractions included submitting falsified information regarding the instructional time spent on the topics, failing to collect and retain required documentation and inappropriately advising students not to contact OSHA to report hazards.

OSHA revoked Barker's Outreach Training authorization after he declined to appeal the decision and his name has been added to the "Watch List" on OSHA's Web site. The "Watch List," available at http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/construction_generalindustry/watchlist.html, will be updated weekly. OSHA is monitoring training programs and has provided a hotline at 847-297-4810 for individuals to file complaints about fraud and abuse.

"Trainers who fail to provide appropriate safety training will pay a stiff price for their fraudulent behavior," said Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "A tighter record control procedure has been instituted requiring trainers to sign their reports and certify the class was conducted in accordance with OSHA's guidelines. Trainers face civil and criminal penalties under federal law if reports or certifications are found to have been falsified."

Trainers are authorized by completing a one-week OSHA trainer course through an OSHA Training Institute Education Center. The trainers are then eligible to teach 10-hour programs that provide basic information to workers and employers about workplace hazards and OSHA, and 30-hour courses in construction, maritime and general industry safety and health hazards.

The voluntary Outreach Training Program has grown to a national network of more than 16,000 independent trainers eligible to teach workers and employers about workplace hazards and provide OSHA 10-hour course completion cards. The program's success has prompted some states and cities to legislate a requirement that workers complete training to earn an OSHA 10-hour card as a condition of employment.