The OSHA 10 and 30 hour training program is a voluntary set of courses that are designed to promote the idea of health and safety in the workplace. The idea of the program is to help make workers more confident in dealing with workplace hazards, and make them more knowledgeable about safety, as well as give them an understanding of their rights and responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities of the employer.
The OSHA Outreach Training Program was created in 1971, and over the last several decades it has grown a lot. The program is designed using a train the trainer format, which helps to expand the program and to broaden the reach and the level of knowledge in the workplace. In the four years between 2012 and 2016, more than 3.94 million people received training in hazard recognition and avoidance via the OSHA program.
The training program offers employees the chance to learn how to prevent, recognise and avoid hazards in the workplace, and it offers lots of information in filing complaints, workers’ rights, and the responsibility that an employer has to his employees and to members of the public. The idea is to create a culture of safety, and to get people engaged in the idea of safety through hands on, participatory activities. Trainers will be given the ability to tailor the courses that they deliver based on the audience for that specific course, offering real-world examples and tailoring the level to suit the knowledge and experience that is in the room. There are trainers that can deliver the content in most major languages, including English, Polish and Spanish.
The 10 hour long version of the course is a good option for entry level employees, while the 30 hour course is aimed at workers that have more of an active role in providing safety training or taking responsibility for the safety of their working environment. Both of the courses cover hazard recognition and will cover common issues that might crop up on job sites. The longer course tackles deeper issues of safety and prevention. It is important to understand that neither course offers a full in-depth look at the OSHA standards �” because there are dozens of topics to cover, and it would take far more than 30 hours to cover every scenario, substance and environment that is documented in the OSHA guidelines.
There are a huge number of trainers up and down the country, and there is a list of education centers on the OSHA website, so you can find a qualified trainer quite easily. Trainers are required to re-certify every four years, so you can be confident that if a trainer is qualified then they are up to date with the current rules and regulations, and you can trust that they will deliver training to the latest standards.
It is well worth you, as an employer, attending the 30 hour course so that you can fully understand the kind of issues that your employees may be facing, and get an idea of what best practices are. Send some of your senior staff on a course too, and get your more experienced staff to attend the course too. You may want to send key entry-level staff on the 10 hour course. Once you have a decent percentage of your employees trained, you should find that the culture of your workplace starts to become more supportive of health and safety best practices, and that it gets easier to keep people focused on keeping the working environment safe.
Health and safety is something that gets overlooked in a lot of businesses, with older workers dismissing it as “big brother” and younger workers thinking that nothing will go wrong because nothing has so far. This attitude is something that needs to change, because even one accident is one too many. By teaching your employees simple and efficient ways to identify and avoid hazards and to make the workplace safer, you will have advocates for safety “on the ground floor” of your organisation, so it will no longer be the job of one over-worked health and safety executive to improve the environment.