What is OSHA’s Outreach Training Program?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, created the Outreach Training program in 1971. Since it was created, millions of U.S. workers have been trained under the program. OSHA’s Outreach Training is a voluntary program designed to “promote workplace safety and health and to make workers more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights.”
OSHA, which is under the U.S. Department of Labor, issues Outreach Training certification cards through certified trainers, both in-person and online. These certification cards are often referred to as “Department of Labor,” or “DOL” cards. There are 10-hour and 30-hour Outreach Training programs that focus on General Industry, Construction, or Maritime. Ten-hour training programs are designed for entry-level workers, while 30-hour programs are more advanced, and intended for workers who may be responsible for some aspects of a workplace training program.
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Outreach training covers worker’s rights, common workplace hazards and controls, and other high-level information about workplace safety. Topics include fire safety, electrical safety, hazard communication, walking/working surfaces, personal protective equipment, and others. Depending on the industry focus (General Industry, Construction, or Maritime), the curriculum may focus on some topics more than others.
Most Outreach training is delivered in person. This is because the Outreach Training program was created long before the Internet was as ubiquitous as it is today, and the way the program is structured favors in-person training. However, there are a small number of organizations certified by OSHA to deliver Outreach training online.
The Outreach Training program is voluntary, and OSHA does not require any worker to obtain a 10-hour or 30-hour certification card to be employed. However, some states, cities, and employers require DOL certification cards. For example, there are several states that require 10-hour cards for employees that will work on certain state-funded building or public improvement projects. It is also common for workers in industries that have historically seen higher levels of worker illness and injury to require DOL cards for some or all their employees.
Who Does NOT Need a Department of Labor Certification Card?
Again, the OSHA Outreach Training program is voluntary, and if you do not work in a state or city that requires a certification card, or for an employer who requires one, then you do not need to have one. Certified Outreach training can be expensive, and due to OSHA’s curriculum requirements, it takes up to two days to complete just the 10-hour course.
Are There Alternatives?
While Outreach training is not required by OSHA, that doesn’t mean that workers would not benefit from receiving this type of Environmental, Health and Safety overview training. Outreach training doesn’t fulfill all training requirements for the OSHA regulations it addresses, but it does provide a solid foundation for EHS knowledge in the workplace.
Due to OSHA’s limited allowance of online Outreach Training providers, some online training companies have created programs that are comparable to certified OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 programs, but without OSHA affiliation. These alternative programs follow or closely follow the curriculum requirements of the OSHA Outreach training. These programs are typically not as expensive, and because they are delivered over the Internet, they can be taken anywhere, at any time. When workers are not required to have a Department of Labor certification card to meet a state, city, or employer requirement, these programs can meet the same overall goals as “official” training.
SafetySkills currently offers equivalent OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 online training programs. These courses cover the same general curriculum required by OSHA, but learners will not receive a Department of Labor certification card:
- OSHA 10 General Industry
- OSHA 10 Authorized General Industry
- OSHA 10 Authorized Construction
- OSHA 30 Authorized General Industry
- OSHA 30 Authorized Construction