Labor Dept. alerts public to ‘OSHA’ phone fraud scheme
By The Star Staff
In response to complaints from citizens who reported receiving fraudulent calls from alleged employees of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor and Human Resources (DTRH) Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González clarified Thursday that neither the federal entity nor its Puerto Rico OSHA office (PR OSHA), which is attached to the DTRH, make this type of approach to employers or workers.
“Recently, authorities reported that people had received calls from alleged OSHA employees requesting money. We want to clarify that this type of approach is not the way in which it proceeds,” Maldonado González said. “No inspector asks for money in fines or penalties. If after an intervention, our team of inspectors believes that the establishment should be fined, this is discussed with the employer or his representative before sending him the official documents on summons and notification of penalty. Puerto Rico OSHA will continue to work hard in its mission to promote work spaces free of injuries and accidents, so we urge people not to fall into these schemes and immediately report them to the authorities.”
As part of PR OSHA’s protocols, Bureau of Inspections personnel, who are authorized by the Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Act to visit any place of employment unannounced, must present an official credential issued by the DTRH, Maldonado González noted. “In the case of Consulting Program personnel, they also visit the employers and have to show their official identifications. Some complaints handled by the Bureau of Inspections, meanwhile, can be answered by telephone. However, the inspector must identify himself and later the employer will receive by email official communications related to his or her case and that will validate the call of the PR OSHA employee. Under no circumstances will the PR OSHA employee be requesting money for fines, penalties, or any other concept, the DTRH secretary said.
Any employer who wishes to validate the authenticity of the PR OSHA employee who contacts them may contact the PR OSHA office at 787-754-2172.