The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is known for its regulatory standards and its enforcement programs, but what many people don’t know is they also develop guidelines for safety training, including those found in the 10- and 30-Hour Construction and General Industry safety courses.

But OSHA cannot offer these types of training programs alone. Instead, it relies on a network of OSHA-certified Master Instructors to train and certify front line instructors who, in turn, provide safety and health training to workers across the country.

The OSHA Training Institute (OTI) and the OTI Education Centers certify a limited number of these elite instructors.  Laborers-AGC Education and Training Fund (Laborers-AGC) currently has five Master Instructors delivering training to local and regional Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) training center instructors.

Despite the dangers in construction work, OSHA has never mandated that workers receive comprehensive safety training for construction, saying only that employers “shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions…”

“Many employers are improving their safety practices,” says Laborers-AGC Executive Director John LeConche, “but many do not have the capabilities to provide the training. Within the regulations, OSHA still relies on contractors and their commitment to safety and training. All workers deserve to have basic safety training before going out on the job which is why more states are requiring OSHA 10-Hour training for all construction workers.

Under LeConche’s direction, the Laborers-AGC trains affiliate instructors who deliver the OSHA 10- and 30-Hour courses (see sidebars for course descriptions) at local LIUNA training centers nationwide. To acquire certification to teach these classes and issue course completion cards, an instructor must pass the OSHA 500, have five years of construction safety experience and complete the Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry course or its equivalent.

Thousands of Laborers each year take the OSHA 10- or 30-Hour courses. While many Laborers take the training as a result of state mandates or employer requirements, all Construction Craft Laborer Apprentices are mandated to take an OSHA 10- or 30 hour course as part of their apprenticeship training. In addition, many of Laborers-AGC’s skills upgrade training courses offered at Laborers’ local training funds require the OSHA 10- or 30-hour course as a prerequisite.

Due to the increased demand for the OSHA 10- and 30-Hour training, affiliate training providers need more OSHA-certified instructors. Laborers-AGC continues to meet the demand for more instructors by conducting OSHA 500 courses as part of its annual instructor training schedule. More information is available through local union training funds or from the Laborers-AGC at 860-974-0800.

[Steve Clark]