Safety and OSHA News

Are employees’ OSHA certifications fake?

An investigation has turned up a scam in which an OSHA certified trainer sold dozens of fake cards crediting workers with participating in required 30-hour safety training.

After an investigation by New York City’s School Construction Authority, Larry Fontanez admitted selling between 50 and 60 fake OSHA 30 cards last summer, according to the New York Daily News.

An investigator posed as a worker looking for fake cards. He found them, complete with Fontanez’s signature, for $250 — half of the $500 for a 30-hour training course.

The card was purchased without the employee ever taking any classes.

Fontanez faces eight counts of criminal possession of a forged document. OSHA has suspended his license.

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  1. Peter Schmidt says:

    The story headline is suggesting that OSHA 10 or 30 hour cards are certifications and/or that Outreach Trainers are certified OSHA trainers. Neither the trainer, the students, nor the curriculum is certified or approved. The trainer is authorized and the students receive course completion cards.

  2. I’m not suprised that there are a few rotten apples out there among all the good OSHA trainers. What I recommend is that people take their course on the internet at a website that is approved by OSHA to give the OSHA 10 and 30 hour training courses, like . The cousre requires the student to be logged in and answer questions as they proceed, so you know the student is present, and guaranteed to see ALL of the course content. So no cheating is possible by the student, and you know the card they get is legitimate.

  3. Paul Jonmaire says:

    Our experience is that on-line courses are not what they’re cracked up to me. Nothing replaces real classroom interaction and hands on experience. We’ve had to retrain people joining us with “on-line” certifications.

  4. Those OSHA cards don’t really prove anything. Some special interest group probably came up with the idea to make money.

  5. The OSHA Outreach program is a great program. With any program there needs to be quality measures in place. OSHA is doing just that, they are checking up on thier outreach instructors. The content of a 10 hour is designed as an introduction to safety. Some people forget if they have matching socks on… so I am sure some people who have the completion cards forget everything or disregard thier safety. An outreach course is a great tool when complemented by a supportive safety culture.

    I have been an outreach trainer since 1997 and I have seen the benefits of the program. Just like school, you have some good teachers and some not so good teachers, but the content is what is important.

    I am glad that they are investigating the fraud, becasue it helps the legit trainers.

    I have seen people give out a 10 hour cards in the past that were not an OSHA 10 hour card. If you are using a different program you need to be sure that the client understands that it is not an OSHA Outreach 10 hour card. In the scenario above the OSHA completion card is required.

    It is important that contractors are educated also, so they know if they are getting fake cards, if they are purchasing fake cards, or not attending a course, they should also be held responsible for violating the requirements.

    The OSHA Outreach Trraining Institute has taken new steps with instructors and tracking card numbers, the changes are a good thing.

  6. OSHA 10 and 30 Hour Training Cards Updated With New Security Features to Deter Fraud

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has quietly incorporate new security features into the OSHA 10 and 30 hour wallet cards issued by trainers to students completing OSHA Outreach training courses. Since several states and many general contractors have made possession of an OSHA 10 hour or 30 hour card mandatory for workers on certain construction sites, there has been an explosion of cases where counterfeit cards were provided or sold to workers or their employers.

    To get an explanation of the changes made to the OSHA wallet cards, we turned to Curtis Chambers, Vice President of OSHA Pros Inc. (, a national OSHA training company. According to Mr. Chambers, who is also an OSHA-authorized Outreach Trainer, the wallet-sized cards are the same size and colors as before; medium blue for the general industry courses, and gold for the construction courses. However, the new cards have the OSHA logo in the upper left-hand corner, with blue ink used for the “O” of OSHA. Also, there is now a large number “10” or “30” (depending on the OSHA course completed) placed as a very faint watermark located in the front center of the OSHA cards. These two features should make the original OSHA cards more difficult to copy and issue to people who did not legitimately complete the course, according to Mr. Chambers.

    Mr. Chambers also explained another new feature is the serial numbers appearing on the cards. The old cards had a nine digit serial number printed in red ink (e.g.: 987654321). The newer cards have a two digit number, followed by a hyphen, followed by a nine digit number (e.g.: 21-987654321), also printed in red ink. This feature allows the card to be more easily tracked back to the OSHA trainer who issued the card originally. In addition, the OSHA trainers who issue OSHA cards are now required to keep a list of the student names and serial numbers of their cards on file, not previously required.

    On the back of the cards, there is now a statement declaring fraudulent distribution or use of the OSHA wallet card is a federal offense. “These updates should help deter the cards from ending up in the hands of people who did not attend the courses, and increase confidence in the OSHA Outreach training program” said Mr. Chambers.

    These changes affect new OSHA 10 and 30 hour wallet cards issued by OSHA authorized trainers in live classes, as well as for online OSHA 10 hour and OSHA 30 hour training courses that have been reviewed and accepted by OSHA. However, OSHA cards never expire, so older versions possessed by trainees who took their courses before these changes took place are also still valid.

    For additional information about this article, contact Curtis Chambers at To obtain the OSHA 10 hour training card, go to To obtain the OSHA 30 hour training card, go to


    The OSHA Outreach Training Program is a great education initiative but the agency quality control procedures were to general since the start. Since the begining of this program the agency did not required specific quality control procedures for outreach trainers and training centers. When I show up to one OSHA Authorized Training Center to take the train the trainer for construction industry there were about 50 persons taking the course and most of them did not have the 5 years construction safety experience requirement and were accepted to take the course. Also after all these cases of fraud is that agency is stating specific recorkeeping requirements to authorized outreach trainers in terms of maintaining training records and other documents for 5 years. Since the begining the agency was naive in not requiring specific requirements regarding quality control and recorkeeping. That open the door to all those cases of fraud that are in the media. This was a situation that could be prevented. At least know the agency realized that they needed more stringent procedures and quality control for outreach trainers. A reactive approach in an agency that their mission is prevention.

  8. @OSHAPRO: “What I recommend is that people take their course on the internet at a website that is approved by OSHA to give the OSHA 10 and 30 hour training courses”…

    OSHA does not approve any website or trainer. They do, however, accept certain training courses, be they online or otherwise. Check out for additional information.

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