You may have heard that certain courses within your safety training program have to be "OSHA Certified" or more recently known as “OSHA Authorized.” As a safety trainer, supervisor, EHS manager, safety officer, or another professional in charge of monitoring the safety and health of your employees, then you’re most likely all too familiar with OSHA.
What you may not be familiar with, is just how far their reach extends into the requirements for your safety training program.
Fortunately, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand what ‘OSHA Authorized’ means and what you can do to make sure that your training program is compliant.
Our friends at Safeopedia actually define and translate the term “OSHA Certification” very well into Layman’s terms. The textbook definition of ‘OSHA Certification’ states: “an OSHA certification is an official certificate of competency issued in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and represents the achievement of outcomes stipulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA training consists of around 30 hours and must be specific to the industry in which you work.”
So what does that actually mean? In simpler terms, it essentially means that having an OSHA certification shows that you’ve proven your competence in upholding a safe and healthy work environment. Being a certificate holder allows you to both monitor and report on workplace safety, and that you’re capable of upholding the legislature regarding safety compliance standards. "OSHA Certified" has, however, been changed to being known as "OSHA Authorized".
Trainers can become “OSHA Authorized” by completing the OSHA Outreach Training Program.
According to OSHA, The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint as well as how to recognize, abate and prevent job-related hazards. OSHA authorizes safety and health professionals who complete an OSHA Outreach Training Program trainer course to conduct occupational safety and health classes for workers.
After their training is complete, trainers document the training to their Authorizing Training Organization (ATO) and receive student course completion cards to distribute to the workers who’ve completed the training.
Becoming an OSHA Outreach Training Program trainer means meeting the prerequisites and completing the applicable industry trainer course through an Authorizing Training Organization (ATO). The prerequisites of the trainer course have both industry-specific safety and health experience and training in OSHA standards for that industry.
In order to maintain relevancy, the OSHA Outreach Training Program authorized trainers are required to complete a trainer update course every four years.
The short answer is yes, you can get OSHA authorized online. OSHA offers certification for seven distinct programs:
For each of these safety training courses, you can hire a safety trainer who has completed the OSHA Outreach Training Program and the requirements listed above, or you can complete the course online from an OSHA authorized online training provider. Once you do, OSHA will mail you your certification.
Now, a lot of the OSHA authorized online training providers have secondary partners that also distribute their safety training courses. So while an online safety training provider may not be on the list of certified training providers, they do carry OSHA authorized training courses. All OSHA-Authorized online training providers are required to provide OSHA a list of the secondary training providers of their program, and each secondary training provider must show on their website, in a conspicuous location, their affiliation with the OSHA-authorized online training provider on their website. Usually, the secondary online safety training provider will show a list of the various brands of workplace safety training providers they carry, so you know that you’re purchasing an OSHA authorized training course.
An OSHA compliant online safety training course is different than an OSHA authorized online safety training course. The main distinction is the content.
An OSHA authorized online safety training course has content that has been approved by OSHA as being adequate and thorough enough for certification. Employees that take an OSHA authorized online safety training course receive a certificate of completion in the mail, often in the form of a wallet card.
An OSHA compliant online safety training program, like most, has content that has been created, edited, or confirmed by a safety professional, but also ticks off all the requirements of the OSHA Training Standards Policy Statements. This is essentially a statement that, while not legally instated, help clarify what OSHA considers to be adequate training. The summary of these requirements is that employers must instruct their employees using both a language and vocabulary that the employees can understand. To demonstrate that this requirement has been met, online safety training courses will have either an online or interactive quiz that tests the employee on the training they received in order to ensure that the materials were read and understood.
An OSHA approved online safety training program will have been able to fulfill the above requirements in regards to proving that the training was completed in a language/skill level that every employee could understand. But that’s only the beginning…
OSHA just a released a helpful eBook that breaks down everything that they consider critical in having a “sounds” workplace safety training program, no matter the format of the training. OSHA states that it boils down to four guiding principles when it comes to an adequate safety training program: accuracy, credibility, clarity, and practicality.
Training materials should be prepared by qualified individuals, updated as needed, and facilitated by appropriately qualified and experienced individuals employing appropriate training techniques and methods.
Training facilitators should have a general safety and health background or be a subject matter expert in a health or safety-related field. They should also have experience training adults or experience working with the target population.
Training programs must not only be accurate and believable, but they must also be clear and understandable to the participant. If the material is only understandable to someone with a college education or someone who understands the jargon, then the program falls short of meeting workers’ needs. Practical experience in the field of safety and health, as well as experience in training facilitation, contribute to a higher degree of facilitator credibility.
Additionally, training materials should be written in the language and grammar of the everyday speech of the participants. Training developers should ensure that readability and language choices match the intended audience. Therefore, if an employee does not speak or comprehend English, instruction must be provided in a language that the employee can understand. Similarly, if the employee’s vocabulary is limited or there is evidence of low literacy among participants, the training must account for this limitation.
Training programs should present information, ideas, and skills that participants see as directly useful in their working lives. Successful transfer of learning occurs when the participant can see how the information presented in a training session can be applied in the workplace.
Ultimately, that depends on the industry you’re in and the OSHA standards that are present regarding your industry. Plus, your company may have their own standards in regards to safety training requirements that you’ll need to comply with as well.
Fortunately, there are countless resources that can help. No matter your time frame, budget or training requirements, large-scale safety training providers, such as SafetySoft, acts as a complete safety training solution to ensure your OSHA compliance. One of your best resources for learning what safety training courses you need at your company, will be a SafetySoft training development rep. They’ll be able to tell you what training courses you’ll need to have for your employees depending on your industry, and they’ll create an OSHA compliant safety training program that fits your company’s unique needs and budget. Contact us today to get started!