OSHA trainings help reinforce the foundations of safe workplaces. And though OSHA considers each training optional, completion is mandated by law in some states and jurisdictions. And, in any case, enrolling in an online or in-person course can offer long term benefits for all employees.
From entry-level workers to supervisors, here are five helpful facts about OSHA 10- and 30-hour outreach training.
Multiple industry focuses: General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Disaster Site
The Outreach Training Program typically offers two levels of training: 10-hour courses and 30-hour courses. The 10-hour training is primarily designed for new workers entering the field. On the other hand, the 30-hour course aims to offer supervisory and more experienced workers responsible for workplace safety a more extensive and diverse training experience.
Both course levels share common objectives, however, and offer certificates of completion. Choosing the right course depends first and foremost on enrolling with an authorized trainer. Once the right trainer is chosen, the next step is to identify whether to enroll in the 10- or 30-hour course (or, for Disaster Site training, 7.5-hour or 15-hour), and whether to complete the training online or in-person.
According to OSHA, despite neither being strictly required by OSHA, both the 10-hour and 30-hour outreach courses offer fundamental training that focuses on raising awareness about identifying, avoiding, reducing, and preventing workplace hazards. Each also provides information about workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and the process of filing a complaint. With that in mind, however, the 30-hour course offers a more comprehensive exploration of these topics and includes additional subject matter.
The content covered in each course varies depending on the industry. The lessons prioritize essential safety considerations such as personal protective equipment, hazard communication, and other industry-specific challenges frequently encountered by workers. In certain cases, learners have the opportunity to customize their courses to some extent by selecting elective classes.
Specific topics covered for construction-specific courses include:
- Introduction to OSHA
- Struck and Caught Hazards
- Electrical Safety
- Fall Protection
- Ladder Safety
- Excavation Safety
- Scaffold Safety
- Materials Handling
- Crane Safety
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Permit-Required Confined Space Entry
- All 10-hour topics
- Managing Safety and Health
- Hearing Conservation
- Respiratory Protection
- Lead and Crystalline Silica
- GHS Hazard Communication
- Hand and Power Tools
- Heavy Equipment
- Forklift Safety
- Fire Safety
- Welding and Cutting
- Concrete and Masonry
- Steel Erection
Irrespective of the industry or specific curriculum, it is important to reinforce the fact that the Outreach Training Program does not fulfill any training obligations specified by OSHA standards. Rather, it serves as an additional training opportunity for workers, complementing their mandatory workplace health and safety training. This does not, however, diminish its significance. OSHA highlights that the program places a strong emphasis on identifying, avoiding, controlling, and preventing workplace hazards. These are essential skills that play a crucial role in minimizing workplace accidents and addressing common violations.
As mentioned in the introduction, while OSHA itself does not mandate 10- or 30-hour training, other regulatory bodies may require workers to complete the course. In the construction industry in particular, several states and even municipalities have implemented mandatory classes for specific workers. Often, these regulations apply to workers involved in public sector contracts with a value exceeding four figures.
States that have made certain outreach training classes mandatory include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Similarly, cities like New York City and Philadelphia have implemented similar rules.
Regardless of whether it is mandatory for you or your workers to undergo OSHA Outreach Training, it’s often a valuable investment of time and resources. These courses offer a vast amount of information that can be utilized to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and the subsequent consequences such as fines, legal complications, and decreased productivity. They can also contribute to kickstarting or enhancing your safety culture and serve as an excellent means of advocating for the importance of safety to your employees.
Moreover, training can bring benefits to your business. Simply put, when accident rates are reduced, worker’s comp rates are reduced.
Plus, when workers acquire skills to work more efficiently and effectively, they’re better prepared to tackle projects instead of relying solely on on-the-job learning. And the completion cards earned through the training can provide a competitive advantage for companies seeking to secure contracts.
Though the curriculums for 10- and 30-hour courses are standardized across industries, when you choose the right instructor it’s possible to combine elements of the 30-hour course as add-on topics to the 10-hour course.
So if you’re working for an excavation company, for example, you might want to add on sections covering confined spaces and trenching and shoring which is covered in excavation safety. So when reviewing your training options, make sure to select the partner that best fits your company’s specific needs.
AJ Ruperto is the manager of video acquisition and certified safety professional (CSP) at KPA. KPA provides Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), and Workforce Compliance software and services for a wide range of businesses. KPA solutions help clients identify, remedy, and prevent workplace safety and compliance problems across their entire enterprise. The combination of KPA’s software, EHS consulting services, and award-winning training content helps organizations minimize risk so they can focus on what’s important—their core business. For over 30 years, KPA has helped 10,000 + clients achieve regulatory compliance, protect assets, and retain top talent.