Compliance officers at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration used to carry identification cards bearing language as blunt as a Sgt. Friday question on Dragnet.

Not any more. The identification cards have been revised as part of Administrator Thorne G. Auchter's campaign to shed his agency's policeman image. They now read like the happy-talk directions at an automatic bank teller machine.

Old cards authorized bearers to "carry out any special duties assigned by the secretary of labor and to enter without delay, inspect and investigate during working hours and at other reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site or other area, workplace or environment where work is performed . . . and to question privately any such employer, owner, operator, agency or employe."

The revised card identifies its bearer as "a duly authorized representative of the U.S. secretary of labor entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out inspections in a courteous and professional manner . . .

"A related purpose of the visit is to describe the many programs available from a variety of sources to assist you in carrying out an effective safety and health program. Your comments and suggestions on how we might be more effective in assisting employers and employes are welcomed."

Auchter said the new cards "make it clear from the moment we set foot in a workplace and introduce ourselves that our purpose is to work with the people there to prevent injuries and illnesses."