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.
More than 90 million American spend their days on the job. As a nation, they are our most valuable resource. And surprisingly until 1970, no uniform and comprehensive requirements existed for workplace safety and their protection against health hazards.
OSHA Certification ensures that the certificate holder is equipped to work towards a healthier and safer work environment. A certificate holder is able to monitor and report on workplace safety and ensure legislative compliance in the specific industry in which he or she works. OHSA certification is required by law in hazardous industries. The certificate holder has to attend additional training once or twice a year in order to maintain the validity of their certification.
Contrary to popular belief, OSHA does not actually certify workers and you cannot get “OSHA certified”. Courses and trainers are considered OSHA “authorized”, and students receive course completion cards, but anyone claiming to be OSHA certified would be mistaken. The closest thing to OSHA certification is OSHA Outreach training, which is provided by OSHA authorized trainers and results in the issuance of an official Department of Labor OSHA 10-Hour or 30-Hour card. That said, many workers do not need an official DOL card to remain OSHA compliant – they just need proper training that will teach them how to stay safe on their worksite!
While OSHA does not specifically address training or certification requirements for workers, many OSHA standards require that the employer train employees in specific safety and health aspects of their jobs. Training is voluntary and OSHA has released guidelines for training, but these are not themselves a standard. The rule of thumb is – train your employees on what they need to know to keep themselves and others safe on the worksite. OSHA doesn’t necessarily know what standards are applicable to each worksite, so determining proper training is the job of employers. OSHA Outreach Training is OSHA-authorized to provide a Department of Labor OSHA card, which can be a great baseline of training for most workers. Depending on your industry, standardized 10- and 30-Hour courses can help give all employees consistent training on the most important OSHA topics, including construction’s “Focus Four” hazards and other required topics, which can then be augmented with site-specific on-the-job training.
While OSHA does not directly certify workers, official Department of Labor Cards are required in many states and on certain types of job sites, such as any governmental work site, oil rigs, or certain states (such as the state of New York). Only authorized OSHA Outreach courses can provide these cards, and there are a limited number of approved providers, so make sure you are registering for a course that issues an official Department of Labor card such as that offered by USFOSHA.com. If you are not sure whether or not you need a Department of Labor card, you should check directly with your employer or research any state or local laws regarding OSHA training and Department of Labor cards.
The creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970 provided workers the right to a safe and healthful work environment. A safe and healthful workplace means all hazards are removed. If hazards cannot be removed completely, protection must be provided to the employees. Some examples of a safe and healthful workplace include:
- Fall protection and training is provided and required when working at high levels on a construction site.
- Machines and equipment with rotating and moving parts are guarded.
- Trenches are inspected and have protective systems in place.
- Proper confined space entry procedures are practiced.
- Noise levels are controlled. When noise levels are too high, workers are given hearing tests and provided training and hearing protection.
- Protection from chemical hazards is provided, including an evaluation of chemicals used, a written program including a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), worker protection such as gloves, and information and training.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) provides cards to authorized trainers to issue to students who complete OSHA Outreach Training Programs. 10-Hour and 30-Hour OSHA cards can only be issued by an authorized OSHA trainer and are the property of the student who completed the course.
Since these cards must be processed through the Department of Labor, cards can take up to 8 weeks to be delivered. USFOSHA.com offers a temporary completion certificate available for immediate download; students can use this temporary certificate as proof of their successful Outreach training completion until their official card arrives.
10-Hour Department of Labor Outreach Completion cards are awarded to students who successfully complete 10 hours of construction or general industry OSHA Outreach training. The 10-Hour Construction DOL card is a light gold color, while the 10-Hour General Industry DOL card is light blue.
OSHA Trainer Cards signify authority to train OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour Outreach courses and to receive and issue completion cards to students. Trainer courses are offered by the University of South Florida. These courses are sometimes known as OSHA 500 (Construction Industry Trainer Course) or OSHA 501 (General Industry Trainer Course). Note: these courses are not available online.
OSHA 500 Trainer Course for the Construction Industry
OSHA 501 Trainer Course for General Industry
30-Hour Department of Labor Outreach Completion cards are awarded to students who successfully complete 30 hours of construction or general industry OSHA Outreach training. The 10-Hour Construction DOL card is an orange/dark gold color, while the 10-Hour General Industry DOL card is blue.
OSHA also offers Maritime training cards (which are white and gray or white and blue) and Disaster Site Worker cards (which are gray and white).
OSHA 5410 Maritime Standards Training
OSHA 7600 Disaster Site Worker Training
OSHA 510/511 Courses
OSHA 510 and 511 courses are extensive courses covering OSHA standards for construction and general industry.
As of October 1, 2012, these courses are no longer offered online due to revised OSHA requirements. The classes are offered in live classrooms from the University of South Florida.
Since OSHA’s creation, workers have many new rights related to safety and health. Some OSHA standards which have been issued since then, such as the Hazard Communication or Right to Know standard, provide additional rights. For example, employers are required to post the OSHA Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law poster in the workplace. This poster outlines some employee rights including:
- You have the right to notify your employer or OSHA about workplace hazards. You may ask OSHA to keep your name confidential.
- You have the right to request an OSHA inspection if you believe that there are unsafe and unhealthful conditions in your workplace. You or your representative may participate in that inspection.
- You can file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of retaliation or discrimination by your employer for making safety and health complaints for exercising your rights under the OSH Act.
- You have a right to see OSHA citation issued to your employer. Your employer must post the citations at or near the place of the alleged violation.
- Your employer must correct workplace hazards by the date indicated on the citation and must certify that these hazards have been reduced or eliminated.
- You have the right to copies of your medical records and records of your exposures to toxic and harmful substances or conditions.
Employees want to know their rights under labor laws. Every day workers perform online searches regarding compensation, breaks, overtime and wages. Where do they look? Most of the answers can be found within the Fair Labor Standards Act, OSHA standards and State regulations. It can be confusing. This article provides an overview of some of these standards, as there may be more rules specific to profession or circumstance that apply.
Here is a breakdown of the most frequently searched topics by the working public.
Under the Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are several federal and state regulations pertaining to the rights of workers in addition to the right to a safe and healthful work environment. First, one of the most popular questions revolves around breaks and meal periods. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, there is no federal requirement for breaks and meal periods. However, some states may have requirements for breaks and meal periods.
For example, the state of California requires that the employee be given ½ hour after 5 hours except when the workday will be completed in 6 hours or less. Connecticut requires ½ hour breaks after the first 2 hours and before the last 2 hours for employees who work 7 ½ consecutive hours or more, while Nevada requires one ½ hour break if work is continuous for 8 hours. There are some exemptions from this.
Sanitation standards for restroom breaks are generally covered by OSHA, but mostly by interpretation. The OSHA standards for bathroom usage is under 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(l)(i) and states that employers are required to provide their employees with toilet facilities separated for each sex in all places of employment. This standard is interpreted by OSHA to say that “employees will not suffer adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available when employees need them. Individuals vary significantly in the frequency…” and explains that many factors can affect the frequency including the fact that medical studies show women need to urinate more frequently than men.
So how many hours a week can someone work? According to the FLSA there is no limit for employees 16 years or older.
Another interesting point workers may not be aware of is that, according to federal laws, an employee can be required to perform duties outside the employee’s job description. This is different for employees under the age of 18.
Overtime pay is another highly searched topic. The FLSA requires overtime pay for nonexempt employees at a rate of no less than 1 ½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours in a workweek. Some exceptions occur for police, firefighters and employees of hospitals and nursing homes. However, certain states have enacted overtime laws where the employee is subject to both federal and state laws, but, the employee is entitled to overtime under the standard providing the higher rate of pay.