Many OSHA standards—including those for the maritime, construction, agriculture, and general industries—contain explicit safety training requirements to ensure workers have the needed skills to keep themselves and others safe on the jobsite.
However, contrary to popular belief, OSHA does not actually offer certified training courses. The closest thing to achieving OSHA certification is completing OSHA Outreach training, a voluntary program which consists of 10-Hour and 30-Hour training courses that provide workers with either basic or more advanced training about common workplace safety and health hazards.
These courses are provided by OSHA authorized trainers, and upon successful completion of a course, learners will be issued an official Department of Labor (DOL) OSHA 10-Hour or 30-Hour card.
That said, many workers do not need an official DOL card to remain compliant with OSHA’s training requirements - they just need proper training that will teach them how to stay safe on the job!
Depending upon employees’ specific responsibilities, employers must provide learners with training that relates to operations conducted at their worksites, as each employee will encounter different hazards (and thus must comply with different OSHA training standards).
As a result, safety training courses must be as relevant as possible to the individual learner, and may cover the safe use of tools and equipment needed for a task, use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate exposure to hazards, as well as other topics as defined by applicable OSHA standards.
OSHA requires employers to train employees on safe working procedures when they are first hired, when they are assigned to new jobs, when a new process or material that is potentially hazardous is introduced to the workplace, and when they are responsible for performing tasks that are identified as hazardous.
In addition, depending upon the particular standard, employees may also be required to receive annual refresher training. For example, bloodborne pathogens re-training is required by OSHA annually, but refresher training in hazard communication is only required in the event that a procedural change introduces a new hazard to the workplace.
With OSHA’s numerous industry standards and retraining requirements, it can be difficult for employers to track the courses that employees are required to take, and when employees are due for retraining. One of the most efficient ways employers can deliver, record, and track required safety training is through the use of employee training software.
Before investing in online training solutions, you’ll understandably want to ensure that computer-based training can be used to meet OSHA’s training requirements.
So what is OSHA’s position on online training?
In an interpretation letter published by the agency, OSHA recognized that online training improves training tracking processes and learning engagement, adding that:
What does this mean? Basically, OSHA wants employers to develop comprehensive, immersive safety training programs. While online safety training offers many benefits, at the end of the day, no one training delivery method is a perfect solution. Online courses shouldn’t be used as the ONLY component of your training program, but rather to supplement your current training efforts.
Experiential learning is still needed in many cases, and certain OSHA training standards even require that hands-on training components be provided. That’s why a blended approach that includes both web-based and experiential learning opportunities is ultimately best.
For example, before attending a hands-on forklift driver training session, an employee will benefit from some web-based training on the subject ahead of time to learn the basic principles of safe use.
Using online training to introduce or reinforce training topics puts more time back in trainers’ pockets. Learners can access an online training course anywhere, at any time, and at their own pace, which is especially beneficial if your company has multiple facilities or worksites.
This allows training managers to devote more resources to performing any live demonstrations and exercises, and to spend more one-on-one time with learners in those settings if needed.
Once you’ve decided to introduce online courses into your training program, finding the right content is key!
To help you select an online training solution, OSHA has laid out guidelines for all the features that web-based training should offer, including:
(We don’t want to brag, but IndustrySafe’s online safety training software contains ALL of these!)
Searching for a new training software can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the world of online training.
To help you find the best fit for your training needs, we’ve put together a helpful list of tips to follow as you shop.
Perhaps most importantly, before purchasing an online safety training software, you should ensure that it will be easy for employees at all levels of your organization to use, from frontline employees and training managers to upper-level management. Selecting a software with a clean and intuitive navigation and design will help users quickly accomplish their training tasks, so that they can get back to their daily responsibilities.
Training managers and supervisors know just how time-consuming it can be to remind learners about their scheduled training. To alleviate this burden, try to find a training management software that can send learners and their supervisors automated email notifications and reports about their upcoming or overdue training.
It should come as no surprise that a study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that engagement is a significant factor in determining the effectiveness of training. The more interaction that a training format requires from employees, the more they will learn from it.
Some online training software provide nothing more than a simple series of PowerPoint-style slides and a set of navigational arrows as the user interface. For best results, look for safety training software that incorporates videos and learning checkpoints throughout courses to maximize employee engagement.
Most employee training software will provide you with tools for monitoring your organization’s training activity. However, some offer more robust training tracking capabilities than others.
The right software will provide you with real-time access to vital metrics such as course pass rates, expired training, and attendance rates.
You should be able to quickly generate reports to determine the areas of your organization that are most compliant and up to date with training requirements, and which areas are in need of improvement.
Many training software solutions (like this one!) also allow you to develop training profiles for groups of workers in order to cross-reference their training requirements by job title and location.
Ideally, the solution you choose will also shed light on how training impacts other areas of your safety program. For example, your training management software should allow you to easily access the training histories of employees that are injured on the job to determine if a lack of training contributed to that incident.
Finally, it’s important to choose a solution that’s configurable so that you’ll have the ability to modify the software as your organization’s training needs change.
With the rapid advancement of training technologies, more and more organizations are turning to video-based methods for safety training.
We’ve laid out four of the best reasons to introduce videos into your training program below.
Training managers have a wide range of media they can use to convey information to learners, including in-class lectures given by an instructor, training manuals and written guides, quizzes, and videos. Yet it is important to note that all formats are not equal in how easily they are processed by learners.
Studies have found that significantly more information is retained during a training session if text is accompanied with relevant audio and images.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how helpful a video can be! It’s been found that videos can be cognitively processed nearly 60,000 times faster than text, and when it’s easier to absorb a format, it lets learners maintain more focus on the topic at hand.
In addition, video provides increased accessibility by offering options such as close captioning and subtitles for people who are hard of hearing. Multi-lingual videos also make it easy to train a diverse workforce.
Keeping employees engaged with their training is critical to ensure they are actually absorbing the information presented. It should come as no surprise that research has indicated strong correlations between attention to the area of focus and learning achievement.
However, keeping employees engaged and attentive is often a difficult task. At best, psychologists have determined people are only able to pay attention to a presentation for 7 to 10 minutes before they start to lose focus. At this point, learners will require a brief break from processing information before they can start another learning segment.
Administering training through videos offers the perfect workaround by allowing learners to better process information. Large lengthy tutorials can be broken up into shorter video segments to help retain learners’ attention.
Even if a training video cannot be segmented into shorter sections, employees have the option to pause and resume videos as needed. This ensures the employee remains engaged to maximize the material learned from the training.
The option to pause training videos not only helps keep employees engaged, but also gives workers the ability to learn at their own pace. Since everyone learns at different rates, this small amount of autonomy can be very beneficial. By pairing videos with Interactive online coursework, quizzes, discussions, or hands-on demonstrations, instructors provide trainees with an immersive and memorable learning experience.
Unlike live demonstrations or other traditional training methods, this autonomy allows employees to review and replay training information as needed. Workers aren’t forced to rush through complicated topics, but instead can take a moment to process what they learn. With training videos, employees can also easily pause a lesson to look up confusing concepts or reflect on key points.
Not only are training videos beneficial for learners, but they also help training managers optimize efficiency!
Aside from the ease of distribution and reduced costs, training videos are effective for organizations to implement because they ensure consistent messages are conveyed to all employees. Certain topics need to be uniformly taught, and this becomes more difficult as organizations grow.
Even when structured via handbooks or guidelines, training in any one location will likely be different from training in other locations. This can be detrimental when critical material is accidentally missed, altered, or poorly communicated.
Furthermore, safety training cannot afford to have vague explanations and demonstrations. Employees need to have a full understanding of the information presented and should not be filling in the blanks with their own interpretations.
Training videos are excellent at minimizing misinterpretation by delivering information objectively, factually, and uniformly.
OSHA’s powered industrial truck (PIT) regulations outlined in Standard 29 CFR 1910.178 require any employee, contractor, or temporary worker who will use a forklift on the job to be properly trained on how to use these vehicles safely.
If your workers will be operating a forklift or PIT on the job, you should provide them with training on the following topics:
According to this standard, forklift training must be provided using a "blended" method, comprised of formal instruction, practical training, and a professional evaluation.
The practical phase of training should include hands-on teaching and demos, along with supervised forklift use. Formal instruction can be delivered to learners using a variety of methods, such as lectures and presentations, videos, interactive online courses, and written materials. Training videos and online coursework can be used to efficiently provide learners with an overview of forklift safety principles, and can be used to introduce or reinforce topics that will be covered by a trainer during practical demonstrations.
After receiving formal and practical instruction, in order to obtain their certification, learners must then undergo a professional evaluation by an individual with the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to assess their competence.
It may come as a surprise, but OSHA actually does not certify workers who have successfully completed forklift training programs. Instead, the responsibility for forklift training and certification falls solely on the employer.
In most cases, the person conducting the certification evaluation would first observe the learner using a forklift during normal operations to determine if the operator is performing safely. The evaluator would then ask pertinent questions to ensure that the operator has the knowledge or experience needed to operate a truck safely. In some cases, because of the danger or complexity of the operation, the extent of the change in conditions that could occur while on the job, or the operator's need for additional skills, the evaluation will need to be lengthier and more detailed.
If the learner passes this evaluation, their employer will provide them with their certification. This document must include the operator's name, their training and evaluation dates, and the name of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation. Your OSHA forklift certification isn’t complete without a certification that contains this information!
OSHA requires businesses to maintain certification records for three years, so it’s important that employers have either print or digital copies handy in the event that an OSHA compliance officer wishes to see them. While it is not required, employers may also choose to provide operators with wallet cards so that workers can easily provide confirmation of their training.
Forklift operator certification is valid for a period of three years. At least once every three years, operators’ performance must then be re-evaluated for certification.
Generally, it’s not necessary for a certified operator to receive additional forklift training before they are due to be re-evaluated. However, refresher training IS required when an operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner, or has received an evaluation that they are not following safe procedures. Retraining must also be provided if the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident, or if they are assigned to drive a different type of forklift or PIT.
According to OSHA's Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Standard, employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must train employees on how to work safely in areas in which those chemicals are present.
HAZCOM training must also review the methods that may be used to detect the release of a hazardous chemical in the work area; and the details of any physical, health, and other hazards of chemicals.
Training must also cover the measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including site-specific procedures an employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Training can be tailored by categories of hazards, such as carcinogens or toxic agents, rather than by specific chemicals.
Finally, employees must be trained on the details of their employer’s chemical inventory and container labels, safety data sheets (SDSs), and written hazard communication program, and must learn how to access and understand the information kept in these important resources.
Container labels are provided by chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals leaving their workplace is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: the material's name and its potential health, fire and reactivity hazards. While these labels provide important information for anyone who handles, uses, stores, and transports hazardous chemicals, they are limited by design in the amount of information they can provide. As a result, chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors must also provide workplaces with safety data sheets.
Safety Data Sheets (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) provide workers with an in-depth guide on how to safely use a specific chemical, including precautions to take, situations to avoid, and if necessary, what personal protective equipment to wear when working with the chemical.
It’s crucial that employers maintain up-to-date records of all SDSs and ensure employees can easily access them within their work areas.
In addition to maintaining proper labeling of chemical containers and keeping records of SDSs, OSHA’s HAZCOM standard also requires employers to create and maintain a written hazard communication program. This hazard communication program serves as a roadmap for showing how a facility is complying with the HAZCOM standard. The program should catalog all hazardous chemicals known to be present in the workplace, where they are located, how they are labeled, where SDSs are kept, and anything else workers will need to know in order to work with the materials safely.
In addition, the program must also outline the employer’s criteria for employee training, including which individuals are responsible for conducting training; the procedures for training employees at the time of their initial assignment, and retraining; and what media will be used.
According to the standard, this training can be provided to learners through a variety of formats, including demonstrations and simulations, training videos, interactive online instruction, lectures, and handouts.
According to the standard, HAZCOM training must be provided to workers “who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or during foreseeable emergencies.” Normal operating conditions are those which employees encounter while performing their job duties in their assigned work areas. Workers such as office workers who encounter hazardous chemicals only in non-routine, isolated instances are not required to be trained.
If you are unsure if an employee could be "routinely exposed," it’s best to err on the side of caution and include them in the training. It’s safer to over-train than risk an OSHA fine for noncompliance, as HAZCOM violations consistently rank among OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards.
HAZCOM training must be provided to employees at the time of their initial assignment.
Training managers should be aware that additional training must be conducted whenever a new hazard is introduced into the work area. However, retraining or refresher training is not always needed if a new chemical is introduced.
For example, if a new chemical is brought into the workplace, and it has hazards similar to existing chemicals for which training has already been conducted, then no new training is required.
However, if the newly introduced chemical is a suspect carcinogen, and there has never been a carcinogenic hazard in the workplace before, then new training for carcinogenic hazards must be conducted for employees in those work areas where employees will be exposed.
Again, if you’re unsure whether retraining or refresher training is needed, it’s better to reinforce the ways in which workers can protect themselves from chemical hazards than to risk an incident or exposure.
Although documentation of training is not required by the standard, it can be very useful for assuring that all employees receive the training they need. Paper copies of training records can be hard to maintain, since employees have to be tracked from job to job within a company or facility. Training management software can be used to document employees' required HAZCOM training more efficiently. With training software, training managers can develop intuitive reports to track employees' training by job title, location, and more.
Ultimately, no matter what method you choose, maintaining training records is an easy way to provide proof of compliance if OSHA comes knocking.
Many workplaces contain areas that are considered "confined spaces" that are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. OSHA defines a confined space as having limited or restricted means for entry or exit and as not being designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, ductwork, and pipelines.
In many instances, employees who work in confined spaces face increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury. Some confined spaces may contain a hazardous atmosphere, a material with the potential to engulf someone who enters the space, an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to become trapped or asphyxiated, and other serious safety or health hazards such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
If a confined space contains one or more of these characteristics, the area must be identified as a permit-required confined space. Only employees that are authorized by an employer can enter permit-required confined spaces.
Entrants of these spaces must be supervised by at least one attendant stationed outside of the space, who will monitor situations inside and outside the space so they can order entrants to evacuate if a dangerous situation arises.
In order for an employee to be authorized as an entrant or attendant, they must be trained in all the safe work procedures that are required for working in confined spaces.
Training must also be provided to any personnel who will be working near a confined space to better prevent unauthorized entry to the space. This training, sometimes considered awareness-level training, should address the following:
Authorized entrants must be trained on the hazards associated with confined space entry. This portion of the training does not necessarily need to be specific to the work site. Instead, a wide range of hazards should be addressed in case any unaccounted dangers occur.
Entrants should learn how to put up barriers and shields around entry points; how to install forced air ventilation systems and monitor the air quality within the space; and finally, how to work with lighting equipment, including explosion-proof varieties that are used in potentially flammable atmospheres.
They must be also instructed on how to use all required equipment and PPE, how to communicate with the attendant and alert them of any developing or existing hazardous conditions, the workings of evacuation alarms on automatic monitoring devices, as well as how to exit the space if necessary.
Attendants of a confined space will have very different duties from entrants. As an attendant, an employee’s job is to stay by the entrance and monitor what goes on both inside and outside the space.
Attendants should be trained on the hazards that may be encountered during entry, including how to recognize signs and symptoms of hazard exposures in attendants. Attendants must be instructed to remain outside the space at all times, how to continuously maintain a proper count, communicate with, and identify all entrants.
In cases of emergency, attendants must also know how to summon rescue or other emergency personnel when needed and to perform non-entry rescues when possible.
Before the initial work assignment involving a confined space begins, all appropriate employees must complete confined space training. Additional training is needed when employees’ job duties change, if a change occurs in the permit space program or the permit space operation presents any new hazard, and when an employee’s job performance shows training deficiencies.
Non-permit confined spaces should also be monitored regularly to determine if conditions within the space changes. If a non-permit confined space becomes a permit-required space, then employers must follow the appropriate procedures and provide training to employees working inside and in proximity to the new permit space.
After completion of all confined space training, OSHA requires employers to keep a record of the training and make it available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.
This record must include the employee’s name, the trainer’s signature or initials, and dates of the training. Employers must keep track of these records in the event that an OSHA compliance officer asks for proof of training.
OSHA maintains a variety of standards developed to protect workers from electrical hazards, including electrocution, shocks, arc flash, explosions, and fires.
Because of the potential for electrical accidents, OSHA states that only “qualified” workers can perform maintenance and repairs of electrical equipment. These qualified workers must be fully trained to identify exposed live electrical parts and their voltage, and know exactly what procedures to follow when they work on exposed live parts or are close enough to be at risk.
However, let’s not forget that workers that are “non-qualified” to perform maintenance on electrical equipment also must be trained in electrical safety if they could be exposed to electrical hazards while on the job.
These non-qualified workers should be trained on the following topics:
Training should also address any hazards and circumstances that are specific to employees’ worksites whenever possible. For example, workers at a construction site will encounter different electrical risks than employees working in a lab or in HAZMAT environments, and therefore should receive training that’s tailored to those environments.
It’s important that employees are trained on electrical safety principles before they are assigned tasks that may present electrical hazards. New hires are particularly at risk for electrical accidents, as a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 41% of workplace electrocution incidents involve workers who’d been on the job for less than a year. Therefore, it’s crucial that employers provide training upon a worker’s initial job assignment.
Training managers should also provide employees with refresher training on an as needed basis, especially if changes in the workplace introduce new electrical hazards.
Finally, should an accident occur, it’s important that training managers keep records of electrical safety training. For example, during an electrical incident investigation, safety professionals and training managers need to be able to easily determine whether a worker received proper training. By documenting electrical safety training results, training managers can better determine if a lack of training contributed to an electrical incident, and if retraining must be provided.
Whether you manage a fleet of vehicles, oversee a mobile workforce or simply employ commuters, by instructing your employees in the basics of safe driving practices, you can help drivers and their families avoid tragedy.
A good driver safety training course should review the following topics:
Drivers should also be aware that fatigue has a huge impact on your performance, and can result in slower reaction times, a lack of concentration, and poor judgement behind the wheel.
To prevent fatigue, commercial drivers should be taught to follow federal Department of Transportation regulations that govern the hours of rest required before driving.
If you’re not a commercially licensed driver, a driving safety training program will still advise you to schedule in regular breaks, along with sleeping at least seven to eight hours the night before a trip to stay fully alert.
Even if a driver is fully rested, sometimes the unexpected happens, and you find yourself taking your eyes, or your mind, off the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 20% of vehicle crashes that result in injuries occur because of distracted driving. Beyond the basics, employers may also want to provide drivers with additional training on how to prevent distractions behind the wheel.
By completing distracted driving training, employees can easily identify the three types of distractions they’ll encounter behind the wheel: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
A good course on preventing distracted driving will show drivers how they can avoid many of the activities that can lead to distracted driving while on the road, including eating or drinking, adjusting seats and mirrors, using a navigation system or checking a map, talking or texting on a cell phone, and talking to other passengers.
Of course, even if you’re maintaining your focus, you’re not the only one on the road! Drivers should also learn how to identify distracted drivers in your vicinity and give them a wide berth. While you can’t control other drivers’ habits, you can control your own.
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