In an effort to improve workplace safety, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the American workplace has been safer ever since. Its purpose was:
“to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.”
By implementing industrial standards and educating both employees and employers on proper safety practices, OSHA has been able to boost worker safety while helping businesses realize the full benefits of proper safety precautions. However, the diversity of safety protocols needed across American workplaces makes choosing the proper OSHA courses a daunting task. The OSHA 10 and 30-hour courses are two of the most common safety courses available, and they cover different topics in varying degrees of detail. Here’s a look at each.
OSHA Courses for Workers
Because workplace safety protocols vary so greatly by industry, determining the proper OSHA course for your employees must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. OSHA’s Training Requirements in OSHA Standards carefully detail many workplace safety regulations by their respective industries, but there are three industries that make up the majority of OSHA regulations. They are:
- Construction. Defined by 29 CFR 1912(b) as “work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating,” this standard covers many forms of manual construction labor.
- Maritime. According to 29 CFR 1915, this standard applies to “all ship repairing, shipbuilding and ship breaking employment and related employment.”
- General. Perhaps the broadest category of OSHA standards, 29 CFR 1910 defines the basic safety requirements for many other non-agricultural, non-federal workplaces.
OSHA offers both 10-hour and 30-hour safety training courses for these standards. These courses provide employees with a solidified foundation regarding best practices and safety protocols based upon their industry.
You should decide the right amount of training for your employees. For an introductory course that covers workplace safety fundamentals, the entry-level OSHA 10 training is the most appropriate.
The material covered in OSHA 10 training can vary according to your industry, but some common topics covered in all three trainings include:
- Understanding the scope and application of their respective governing standards
- Term definition
- Hazard identification within each industry
- Location and determination of the policies and procedures corresponding to each standard
- Description of the use of each standard in supplementing an ongoing health and safety program
Organizations that feel they need a deeper dive into OSHA safety protocol may opt for OSHA 30 training. OSHA 30 training is more in-depth than its 10-hour counterpart, and it covers a broader array of topics.
As with OSHA 10, OSHA 30 training can be provided for the construction, maritime, and general industries, but the content will be more industry-specific and in-depth. Possible topics covered include, but are not limited to:
- Health hazards, personal protective equipment, respirator use, and ladder safety
- Ergonomics, lockout/tagout, electrical hazard identification, machine guarding
- Blood-borne pathogens, hot work-welding, walking and working surfaces
These are just a few topics that are covered in OSHA 30 training. Some are mandatory, while others are elective, which means that there’s plenty of room to tailor your OSHA training to match your workplace needs.
The Benefits of OSHA Courses
Finding the right OSHA course becomes much easier once you know what to look for, but you might be concerned that it isn’t worth the expense.
Like any investment, there’s an upfront cost to taking an OSHA course or setting one up for your employees, but the payoff is more than worthwhile. Employees and managers are protected by a safer workplace, are more productive, and organizations are made more profitable when they minimize the risk of workplace injuries and inefficiencies.
An effective workplace safety and health program will provide a variety of benefits to your employees:
- Hazard recognition and removal: Safety is a must for every worker. By identifying and removing unnecessary dangers, OSHA courses help keep employees safe.
- Loss of life prevention: Few things are more disturbing to employees than when a colleague dies on the job. OSHA courses can stop a tragic loss of life.
- Culture cultivation: OSHA courses help employees take ownership of their workplace environment, which boosts engagement and morale.
Management and Organizations
Safer workplaces don’t just benefit employees. They have a positive impact on management and executives. Effective workplace safety and health programs have repeatedly proven to be good business, and they help the bottom line. Some of the benefits that OSHA-compliant companies enjoy are:
- Reduced expenses: Unsafe workplaces are a risk, and risk translates into cost. Lower workers’ compensation, fewer lost workdays, and reduced equipment damage are just a few ways that OSHA courses can help companies run better.
- Greater productivity: Employees that feel safe are able to focus more on performing the tasks at hand. That means greater productivity, which can lead to more output and reduced downtime.
- Regulatory compliance: OSHA fines are expensive, and can threaten profitability and operation. Protect your company from OSHA fines by educating employees on how they can keep the workplace compliant and running smoothly.
By helping companies improve productivity, reduce costs, and maintain compliance, OSHA courses prove that protecting your employees is not just humane — it’s a wise financial investment.
Hiring the Right OSHA Course Instructor
Enrolling in an OSHA course is beneficial to companies at every stakeholder level. You just have to find a course that fits your workplace’s needs. Whether you invest in OSHA 10 training that teaches the fundamentals of workplace safety for entry-level employees, or you’re a manager enrolling in OSHA 30 training to gain a deeper knowledge of specific safety topics, it’s essential that you find a certified OSHA trainer for your class. Here at YellowBird, we specialize in linking companies in the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) sector to certified OSHA trainers in their field – get started today to find an OSHA expert for your next training needs.