You don’t need to work in the field of workforce safety and compliance for long before words like “voluntary” and “recommended” start to lose their meaning. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and other regulatory agencies have plenty of “voluntary” programs that employers have no choice but to participate in. And there are countless publications containing “recommended practices” that function more like how-tos for avoiding a citation.
Case in point: OSHA’s Outreach Training Program. Through the program, individuals can take either a 10-hour or 30-hour course exploring various topics beyond what safety training needs to cover by law. According to OSHA, it’s a “voluntary program” meant to “promote workplace safety and health and to make workers more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights.”
In reality, the Outreach Training Program is mandatory or practically mandatory for many workers. Various states and local jurisdictions require employees in certain industries (typically construction and the public sector) to complete OSHA 10-hour training—and in some cases, even 30-hour training—before starting on the job.
Here’s what you need to know about OSHA’s 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training:
10 Hours for Entry-Level Workers, 30 Hours for Supervisors
There are two kinds of curricula in the Outreach Training Program: 10-hour courses and 30-hour courses. According to OSHA, the 10-hour training “is primarily intended for entry level workers.” The 30-hour course, meanwhile, “is intended to provide workers with some safety responsibility a greater depth and variety of training.” Otherwise, the courses serve similar purposes, and both provide learners with course completion cards when they’re finished.
The Training Doesn’t Cover OSHA Standards, But It’s Still Important
OSHA explains that both the 10- and 30-hour outreach courses provide “basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards,” as well as “information regarding workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and filing a complaint.” The 30-hour course delves into greater detail and covers additional topics.
The specific topics included in a course vary by industry. There are different versions for construction, maritime, disaster site, and general industry workers. Lessons center on important safety concerns such as personal protective equipment, hazard communication, or other issues workers frequently encounter in the industry. In some cases, learners can partially customize their courses with elective classes.
In the construction industry, topics include the following:
- Introduction to OSHA
- Struck and Caught Hazards
- Electrical Safety
- Fall Protection
- Ladder Safety
- Excavation Safety
- Scaffold Safety
- Materials Handling
- Crane Safety
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Permit-Required Confined Space Entry
- all 10-hour topics
- Managing Safety and Health
- Hearing Conservation
- Respiratory Protection
- Lead and Crystalline Silica
- GHS Hazard Communication
- Hand and Power Tools
- Heavy Equipment
- Forklift Safety
- Fire Safety
- Welding and Cutting
- Concrete and Masonry
- Steel Erection
Regardless of the industry or individual curriculum, the Outreach Training Program does not fulfill any training requirements of OSHA standards. It’s something workers participate in on top of their required workplace health and safety training. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. According to OSHA, the program “emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention”—key skills for minimizing workplace accidents and common violations.
10- or 30-Hour Training Might Be Mandatory Depending on Where You Do Business
While OSHA itself doesn’t require 10- or 30-hour training, many other regulators do require it. As reported in EHS Daily Advisor, “some states and even municipalities have made the classes mandatory for certain workers, especially in the construction industry.” The rules often apply to workers on public sector contracts worth 5 figures or more.
States in which some outreach training classes are mandatory include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Cities such as New York City and Philadelphia have similar rules in place.
For more information, read “Do Your Workers Need OSHA 10- and 30-Hour Outreach Training?”
Even When the Training Isn’t Mandatory, It Can Be Good for Your Workforce and Bottom Line
Whether you or your workers are required to complete OSHA Outreach Training or not, it might be a good investment of your time and money. The courses contain a wealth of information you can harness to avoid workplace injuries and illnesses (as well the fines, legal issues, and lost productivity that follow). They can also help you kickstart or improve your safety culture. They’re an excellent way to communicate the importance of safety to your employees and turn them into safety experts and advocates.
Plus, training can be good for business, too. Your workers will learn how to work more efficiently and effectively, and be better prepared to jump into projects rather than learning entirely on the job. The completion cards can also be a competitive advantage for firms looking to win contracts.
Some Outreach Training Providers Are Better Than Others
OSHA Outreach Training is not available directly through OSHA, but via authorized trainers and vendors, each with their own pricing, schedules, and availability.
You asked, we listened: KPA now offers OSHA 10- and 30-hour training at an affordable price point for employers. Courses are hosted by AdvanceOnline—an online training provider certified by OSHA—and accessible through both Vera Suite and the Risk Management Center, KPA’s all-in-one workforce safety and compliance software platforms. Managers can track training completions in both tools alongside other required safety course records.
We’re looking forward to expanding these offerings in the weeks and months to come. It’s part of our dedication to continually add value to our training, software, and consulting services to better meet the needs of our clients.
To learn more about outreach training, and to see how KPA can improve safety and compliance at your organization, schedule a conversation with us.