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What Is the OSHA Training Outreach Program?

The OSHA Outreach Training Program is a voluntary program that seeks to provide workplace safety training. It was started in 1971 and has since grown to train millions of employees around the nation. Using a network of volunteer trainers, it offers courses, both in-person and online, that prepare you for the workplace. 

OSHA itself does not run the OSHA Outreach Training Program. OSHA authorizes it as a means to educate and prepare employees for the workforce. The Outreach Program does so by making health and safety information more readily available for everyone. It also teaches important information regarding OSHA, such as employees’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file complaints. 

What Training Does the Outreach Program Offer?

The Outreach Program offers a limited amount of safety training courses. The training offered by the Outreach Program come in four different categories:

There are two options in each of these categories: 10- and 30-hour courses (7.5- and 15-hour courses for Disaster Site Worker). 10-hour courses are intended for entry-level employees who need a basic understanding of common hazards and safety procedures. 30-hour courses are intended for supervisors or other employees who are responsible for overseeing safety in the workplace. 

Which Safety Courses Are Right for Me?

Which safety courses are right for you will depend on three things: 

  1. The industry you plan on working in: Some training is specifically tailored for a particular industry. For example, if you are a construction worker, you need the OSHA 10 Construction course, and not just any OSHA 10 course. Some training courses are specific enough that the information is irrelevant to other industries. The agriculture industry will most likely not need you to take a course on cranes, but the construction industry would. 
  2. Your responsibilities in the workplace: You may be just starting out as a construction worker, or you may be someone who already has experience and is tasked with ensuring employee safety. There will be different courses for each of these roles. Most courses are intended for entry-level employees, or people who have little to no experience with the topic. However, there are courses intended for supervisors and competent persons that will be specific to their responsibilities in the workplace. 
  3. Your employer’s training requirements: Your employer dictates which training and what level of training you will need in order to begin working. There may be times where the employer requires a heavy amount of training for you to start work and other times where they require you to have little to no training. 

Should I Get Training From the Outreach Training Program?

The OSHA Outreach Training Program is not a bad option to receive basic safety training. However, as stated previously, it is limited in what courses it offers. How you receive training through the program is also a bit unique.

The training model used by the Outreach Program utilizes a database of certified trainers across the nation. You select the course you want, then you find a trainer near you who can provide an online or in-person course. Remember that the Outreach Program does not offer particular certification. Outreach training does not train you for a specific task, but it makes you aware of workplace hazards and worker rights. 

Through the Outreach Program, you receive OSHA cards by mail a few weeks after completing your training course. However, OSHA does not consider these cards to be certification of any kind; rather, they are proof for your employer that you have completed the training course. 

Does OSHA Require Me to Be Safety Trained?

OSHA does not require employees to be trained for any workplace. However, employers need to follow the General Duty Clause of OSHA. This clause states that employers are obligated to provide a workplace free of known safety and health hazards. So, OSHA does require employers to do everything they can to ensure their employees have a safe workplace. 

The best way that employers can ensure that their employees are safe from known workplace hazards is by training them. That way, employees can recognize workplace hazards and know how to handle them. 

What Are the Best Courses to Take in 2023?

The courses you would take in 2023 will, again, depend mostly on the requirements set by your employer. But within each industry, there are certain courses that are especially important and popular among employers across the nation. Most of these courses are not available through the Outreach Program, but they can be found in our training catalog

OSHA Aligned Construction Courses

The construction industry is one of the most hazardous work environments in the world. Specifically within the construction industry, there are courses that have grown in popularity and usage. These courses include:

OSHA Aligned Courses for All Workers 

Outside of construction, there are many courses that are applicable to all workplaces across multiple industries. These general courses are popular and useful because of how common the hazards they address are and how easily they can be applied in any workplace. These courses include:

OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 Hour Courses

OSHA 10- and 30-hour courses in both the construction and general industry are still very popular and useful. These courses excel at basic preparation for entry-level employees and supervisors. They cover a broad spectrum of workplace hazards and safety practices that employees may or may not face in their workplace, including:

The OSHA 30-hour courses will provide all this information and more. It will also focus the information on how you, as a supervisor, will need to recognize these hazards and safeguard the employees you lead. 

Understanding Safety and Hazards

The most important hazards to understand are those that don’t go away. For this reason, safety training for those everpresent hazards will always be essential and necessary. This makes it very rare that one course would become more important than another at any given time. 

For example, falls will always be a hazard that is present in the construction industry. As a result, fall protection will always be a popular course choice for employees in that industry. There is also a high demand for construction workers, making it an industry that always has a high number of employees and a high risk of accidents involving falls.