What Does OSHA Certification Mean?
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.
Explains OSHA Certification
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.
OSHA 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.
Do I Need a Department of Labor OSHA Card?
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.
OSHA Outreach Training is only available to U.S. workers; Department of Labor cards cannot be shipped outside of the United States. International workers, while not specifically covered under the protections of OSHA, may still want to take OSHA-related training to understand how best to minimize risk.
Employee Rights Under OSHA
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.
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.