Who Needs OSHA Construction Training?
About OSHA Training
Since the 1970s, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has worked to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities through training and safety standards. Many of these standards specifically require employers to ensure that workers are trained on the hazards they may come into contact with. OSHA has developed a "summary" of Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, but at 270 pages, ensuring training requirements are fully met can be a daunting task.
For this reason, training can sometimes be a confusing topic, especially in the Construction industry — which comprises over 20% of all worker fatalities each year. We hope that by answering a few questions about the Construction industry and OSHA training, we can answer the larger question of: "who needs OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training?"
What Is A "Construction Worker?"
Under 29 CFR 1910, section 1910.12(b), OSHA defines "construction work" as "work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating." Most other workers, such as those working on maintenance and upkeep of facilities, would be considered "general industry" workers. That said, the definition can get tricky when it comes to large-scale maintenance work. Depending on the size and complexity, OSHA may consider some "maintenance" workers to be doing "construction work." OSHA has issued an official interpretation regarding maintenance workers that may be helpful for maintenance workers to determine whether or not they do construction work.
Classifying Construction Workers
Many workers doing the following work or holding the following job titles may fall under OSHA's umbrella for Construction.
Types of Construction Work
- Public & Construction Engineering
- Scaffold, Construction and Concrete
- Stone Work
- Roof Work
- Electrical Work
- Piping Work
- Tile, Brick and Block Work
- Steel Construction Work and Reinforcement Work
- Paving Work
- Dredging Work
- Glass Work
- Interior Finishing
- Machinery Installation
- Landscape Gardening
- Water Facilities Work
- Waste Facilities Work
Types of Construction Workers
- Carpet Layers
- Fire Sprinkler Installers
- Elevator Mechanics
- Heavy Equipment Operators
- Insulation Installers
- Masons and Stonemasons
- Painters & Decorators
- Pile Drivers
- Sheet Metal Workers
- Tile Workers
- Truck Drivers and Teamsters
Have questions about whether or not you are a construction worker or whether you're someone who needs OSHA training? Contact our safety experts at firstname.lastname@example.org who can help make sure you get the most appropriate training for your particular work setting.
Why is OSHA Training Vital for Construction Workers?
Since April 28th, 1971 when OSHA was founded, it has reduced workplace fatalities by 66%. Through the standards OSHA set, including training requirements and safety standards, it has saved thousands of lives. According to OSHA, private industry construction workers had a fatality rate that was three times larger than other industries. This makes training for construction workers even more imperative.
OSHA and researchers have identified four specific hazards in the construction industry that cause a large majority of fatal injuries; in fact, OSHA's Construction Focus Four are responsible for nearly 80% of all construction site workplace fatalities.
The Construction Focus Four are as follows:
- Fall Hazards — The single most deadly hazard in the construction industry, it accounted for 805 deaths in 2003 & 2004—that's 34% of all the construction fatalities during that time frame. Falls can occur off roofs, off scaffolding, through holes or on working surfaces.
- Caught In/Between Hazards — Caught-in or between hazards accounted for 10% of all fatalities in the construction industry in 2003 & 2004. Caught-in or between injuries are when an employee is squeezed, caught, crushed, compressed, or pinched between parts of an object or several objects.
- Struck-By Hazards — This category encompasses all hazards resulting in objects that move, fall or roll and strike a worker. It also includes when unsecured loads or flying objects hit workers. Particularly dangerous for those working around traffic or with heavy equipment, struck-by consisted of 24% of workplace fatalities in 2003 & 2004.
- Electrocution Hazards — Accounting for 11% of workplace fatalities in 2003 & 2004, electrical hazards are considered one of construction's deadly four workplace hazards. Training relating to electrocution focuses on de-energizing circuits and then ensuring that no charge remains.
All OSHA-Authorized Outreach training courses for Construction are required to cover these hazards in-depth.
What is OSHA Outreach Training?
Workers who fall under the definition of "construction workers" must receive training about certain job-specific safety concerns, such as general safety & health provisions, personal protective equipment, fall protection and other topics as defined by OSHA standards. To help workers who need OSHA training to meet these training requirements, OSHA created the Outreach training program, which was developed to promote workplace safety and health by providing access to training by OSHA-Authorized trainers.
Outreach training, along with specific on-site instruction by the employer, will help employers meet many of the required training provisions under OSHA standards.
To make access to that training even easier, OSHA authorizes a limited number of trainers to provide online courses. The material covered in these courses reflects OSHA requirements for Outreach training and has the same timing requirements as a classroom course, but students have the flexibility to take their course on their own schedule. USFOSHA's OSHA-Authorized online Construction courses are also some of the few available that are mobile-compatible, allowing workers to train using tablets or mobile phones. USFOSHA's Outreach training also includes animations and interactions, which help guide students through worksite hazards in an engaging way that helps the concepts "stick."
Outreach training results in the issuance of an official Department of Labor (D.O.L.) OSHA card, also known as an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 card. Many workers carry these cards with them on the worksite, and in some cases, there are workers who need to carry their 10-hour or 30-hour OSHA card with them at all times as mandated by their state. 10-hour training (and the OSHA 10 card) is recommended for all construction workers. 30-hour training (and the OSHA 30 card) is recommended for any construction employee with supervisory or safety-related responsibilities.
Is OSHA Outreach Training Required?
Though some states, jurisdictions or individual employers may decide to require Outreach training or Department of Labor cards for Construction employees, it is important to understand that Outreach training is not specifically required by OSHA; as with all other OSHA training courses, it is a voluntary program. This training also does not necessarily cover all training requirements found in OSHA standards. Employers are responsible for providing additional training on specific job hazards. Some workers may find that a combination of Construction, General Industry and on-site training is necessary. Each worksite and job will have unique training requirements, and it is entirely the employer's responsibility to ensure that all job hazards are fully explained through training. The best authority for training requirements is OSHA themselves, who have put together a comprehensive Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines document for employers.
That said, OSHA Outreach 10-hour and 30-hour training courses are a fantastic way to create a solid baseline of standards training, and these courses help employers to meet these important training requirements in an efficient and controlled method. While OSHA considers Outreach training voluntary, many construction companies consider it an essential part of their safety program.
Is OSHA Outreach Training Required In My State?
Some states have even determined that Outreach courses are necessary for certain workers. The following states have these requirements:
- Required for all construction workers for public building projects paid for (in part or in full) by state funding where the total cost is over $100,000.
- Required for all construction employees on any Miami-Dade County public or private contract valued in excess of 1,000,000.
- Required for construction workers at all public sector projects.
- Required for all construction workers on public work projects (state or municipal).
- Required for all construction employees (10-hour) and supervisors (30-hour).
- New Hampshire
- Required for all construction workers on public works projects with a total cost over $100,000.
- New York
- Required for all workers on public works contracts greater than $250,000.
- Required for all employees (10-hour) and at least one supervisory employee (30-hour) of licensed contractors performing permitted construction or demolition work within the city of Philadelphia.
- Rhode Island
- Required for all workers on municipal and state construction projects with a total cost of $100,000 or more.
- West Virginia
- Required for workers on any public improvement project with a total cost in excess of $500,000.
For states that do not yet have a requirement, it may only be a matter of time! State and federal regulators want to ensure that workers who need OSHA training get OSHA training. These regulators want to establish a baseline of safety training for workers before they even step foot onto a worksite. OSHA-authorized training (and a Department of Labor card) is an effective and reliable way to prove that efforts have been made to inform workers of the most important construction site hazards.