When times get tough people get creative on ways to make a quick dollar and there is a new way of doing it. In Arizona it was reported on the news last night that there is a person impersonating an OSHA compliance officer. This impersonator walks into the business and claims to be an OSHA compliance officer and needs to conduct an inspection for safety violations.

After the inspection the impersonator tells the business owner that they found several safety violations on the premises and if the business could give him a check or cash for a given number specific amount of money he would not issue any citation to the business. If the business paid in cash the price could be discounted. Nice scam.

First of all OSHA and other government agencies do not work this way. As a business owner or manager you have legal rights when a compliance officer walks in the door. The compliance officer will show you government photo identification (not a driver’s license) from your specific State or the U.S. Department of Labor Department of Occupational Safety and Health. They will also give you a business card with the phone number and address of the local OSHA office. The compliance officer will explain the reason for the visit and ask to speak to the person in charge or business owner. As a business owner or manager you also have the legal right to call the local OSHA office to confirm the identity of the person before admitting them to your business. A real compliance officer will have no problem with you calling OSHA to confirm his or her identity. If they do not have the proper identification or don’t want you to call the local OSHA office, these are automatic red flags that the person may be an imposter.

Once you have verified the person is an authorized OSHA compliance officer they have a specific protocol to follow prior to the inspection and after the inspection. They do no issue citations or assess penalties on the spot. Under federal law OSHA has up to six months to issue the citations with assessed penalties and it will come via U.S. Postal Service, certified, return receipt mail. My experience in Arizona is that it usually takes ADOSH (Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health) about six weeks to issue the citation. That will vary depending on how your inspection went and their work load.

If you are an employer in the State of Arizona it will depend on where your business is located or where you are working if an OSHA inspector comes to your location. If you are on a reservation you will be visited by either the tribal department of OSHA or federal OSHA. If federal OSHA shows up at your facility or job site on the reservation they are normally accompanied by one of the tribal OSHA compliance officers. If you are working on a military base it will always be federal OSHA conducting the inspections. All other locations in Arizona are covered by ADOSH. There are two ADOSH offices in Arizona and they are located in Phoenix and Tucson.

If you are an Arizona employer and need to verify the identity of an OSHA compliance offer here are the OSHA office numbers you can contact.

ADOSH  – Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health

Phoenix Office 602-542-5795
Tucson Office  520-628-5478

OSHA – U.S. Department of Labor Department of Occupational Safety and Health

Phoenix Office 602-514-7250
Phoenix Office 800-321-6742

Gila River Community OSHA

Sacaton Office 520-562-5124

Navajo Nation OSHA

Window Rock 928-871-6824

If you are an outside of Arizona check the federal OSHA web site to see if the OSHA program in your state is administered by the state or federal government and check local listings for phone numbers.

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