The OSH Act and OSHA Outreach Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers private sector employers and their employees in the 50 states of America as well as certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. As of 2012, those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. It also teaches workers and employers how to identify, abate, avoid and prevent job related hazards.

Through their outreach program, OSHA authorizes safety and health professionals who complete an outreach trainer course to conduct occupational safety and health classes for workers. After training is completed, trainers document their training and receive student course completion cards to distribute to the workers they have trained.

OSHA has promoted workplace safety and health by authorizing trainers since 1971. The Outreach Training Program is voluntary. It does not meet the training requirements contained in any OSHA standard. However, some states and local jurisdictions have enacted laws mandating outreach training.

Some employers, unions, and various other jurisdictions also require workers to have this training to work on job sites and to fulfill their own safety training goals. For a complete list of OSHA’s training-related requirements, see OSHA Publication #2254, Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines (www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2254.pdf.)

From the fiscal year 2000 through the fiscal year 2010, the OSHA Outreach Training Program grew almost four-fold, from 200,000 workers trained per year to nearly 800,000 trained annually. This growth is a result of industry-wide acceptance and implementation of the program.

OSHA training programs such as the Outreach Training Program are intended for workers covered under the OSH Act. For this reason, OSHA Outreach Training Program classes must be limited to training conducted within OSHA’s jurisdiction. Classes delivered outside of OSHA’s jurisdiction will not be recognized as Outreach Training Program classes, and trainers will not receive student course completion cards for those students.

Additionally, OSHA mandates specific Training Delivery requirements. Training that does not comply with the Daily Class Hours requirements listed below will not be recognized by OSHA and trainers will not be given student course completion cards.

a) Training is limited to a maximum of 7 ½ hours per day.

  1. 10-hour classes must take a minimum of two days.
  2. 30-hour classes must take a minimum of four days.

b) Training cannot be conducted over 10 consecutive hours. An 8-hour break is required after 7½ consecutive hours. Consequently, for example, a training class cannot be conducted from 9 pm until 7 am the following day.

Many employers now use the Outreach Training Program to provide training for their employees. Groups who have integrated the program into their overall safety and health training plans include the building trades, general contractors, employer associations, insurance companies, and manufacturing firms.

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