The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 10 and 30-hour courses provide information needed to help frontline workers, as well as foremen and supervisors, be more aware of health and safety hazards they may face and how they can be avoided. In recent years, OSHA’s 10 and 30-hour training courses were expanded to include more information on the rights of workers and employers. Although these are important concepts to relay to workers, these additions left instructors with less time to teach workers about the specific jobsite hazards they would face.
After receiving feedback that trainers were unable to cover the necessary job-specific hazards workers may face within the courses’ time limits, OSHA decided to change some of the required teaching elements. The agency released new Outreach Training Program requirements on January 1, 2018 that go into effect on April 1, 2018. The highlights of those changes are summarized below:
- The Introduction to OSHA portion of the courses is now only required to last one hour instead of two.
- The optional topics for Construction and General Industry courses increased by one hour for both the 10 and 30-hour courses.
- Fall Protection is now required to last 90 minutes instead of 75 minutes in construction courses.
- For new OSHA 10 and 30-hour trainers, the OSHA 510 course must have been completed within seven years of taking the OSHA 500 course.
- Outreach trainers must use their legal name on all documents; nicknames/abbreviated names (e.g., Mike for Michael) are no longer acceptable. Trainees must be able to produce a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID for copying.
OSHA standards for construction and general industry have numerous training and safety requirements. Many of these standards specifically require employers to train workers on the hazards they may come in contact with, including job-specific safety concerns, general safety and health provisions and the need for personal protective equipment and fall protection.
To help employers and workers meet these training requirements, OSHA created the Outreach Training Program, which was developed to improve workplace safety and health by providing access to OSHA-authorized trainers. While the Outreach Training Program is technically a voluntary program, many states require this training and have enacted laws that mandate 10 and/or 30-hour OSHA training for all construction workers. Some employers, unions, organizations or other jurisdictions also require OSHA 10 and/or 30-hour training before workers ever step foot on a jobsite.
Here are several examples of states that have OSHA 10 and 30-hour requirements in some form:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
For states that don’t yet have a requirement, it may only be a matter of time. State and federal regulators want to ensure that workers who need OSHA training get OSHA training. These regulators want to establish a baseline of safety training for workers before they reach the jobsite. OSHA-authorized training is an effective and reliable way to inform workers of the most prevalent hazards on construction jobsites.
Workers who go through outreach training are issued an official Department of Labor OSHA card, commonly referred to as an OSHA-10 or OSHA-30 card. Many workers carry these cards with them on jobsites, and in some states and municipalities, workers are required to carry their card with them at all times. Ten-hour training is highly recommended for all construction workers and 30-hour training is the recommended minimum for any construction employee with supervisory or safety-related responsibilities.
Although Outreach Training courses are an excellent way to create a solid baseline of safety training, these courses alone do not fulfill the training requirements found in many OSHA standards. Employers are responsible for providing additional training based on the specific hazards workers may encounter on the job, such as the additional training requirements found in OSHA’s silica standard. Because of this, many construction companies consider OSHA 10 and 30-hour training as only one essential part of their safety program.
[Travis Parsons is the LHSFNA’s Associate Director of Occupational Safety and Health.]