If you’re putting together a basketball team, you’re probably going to look for players who’ve mastered the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense. Players who haven’t mastered the fundamentals aren’t going to have an easy time executing more advanced game play strategies or skills, like a pick-and-roll or an alley-oop slam.
Likewise, when you’re trying to create a workforce that demonstrates high-level safety performance, maybe you shouldn’t begin with the more advanced concepts involved in machinery safety or hazardous chemical storage. Maybe you need some people who have first mastered their safety fundamentals. Fortunately, there’s an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program that is set up to accomplish just that.
Stepping Stones to Safety Greatness
When it comes to the fundamental concepts of workplace safety—what is a hazard? How can hazards be identified? What are the most common workplace hazards? What are their most common solutions?—OSHA has a long-standing program in place to teach them. It’s called OSHA Outreach Training, and it involves trainers who have been through OSHA’s own Train-the-Trainer course and who work within a curriculum designed by OSHA. These trainers have met OSHA’s minimum requirements for providing 10-hour and 30-hour courses for workers on workplace safety fundamentals.
Here’s what the courses cover:
- The 10-hour outreach courses provide workers with basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. They also provide information on workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and filing a complaint.
- The 30-hour outreach courses provide a greater depth and variety of training, and cover an expanded list of industry-specific workplace hazard topics.
The program comes with a list of caveats. Here’s what OSHA wants employers to understand about OSHA Outreach Program trainers and courses:
- OSHA outreach trainers are not OSHA-certified, and they do not work for OSHA. They are authorized (not certified) through the Outreach Training program to deliver Outreach Training classes.
- Outreach trainers will be able to provide 10-hour or 30-hour training courses tailored to general industry, construction, or maritime industry workers or to disaster site workers. OSHA provides authorized trainers with procedures for each industry program on the topic outlines for each industry.
- All trainers will have a trainer card that includes an expiration date, along with the name of the authorizing (OTI) Education Center. Employers should verify the status of an authorized outreach trainer by contacting the education center where the trainer received authorization. OSHA does not provide this verification.
- Workers who have completed a 10-hour or 30-hour course taught by an OSHA-authorized trainer will receive a course completion card issued by their trainer. General industry, construction, and disaster site cards do not expire; maritime industry cards expire 5 years from the date of issue.
OSHA emphasizes that its outreach training does not fulfill the training requirements of any specific OSHA standard. Rather, it is a course in safety fundamentals—a stepping stone for workers on the road to safety greatness.