The Importance of an OSHA Certification
Many times, the mention of OSHA provokes a negative response. However, OSHA has the purpose of improving safety and reducing health hazards in the workplace.
The regulatory focus on identifying best practices has prevented accidents and saved workers from injuries. OSHA’s Outreach Training Program for the construction industry is designed to teach about the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. The program also provides information about worker’s rights, employer responsibilities, and methods for filing a complaint. However, completion of the Outreach Training Program 10-hour and 30-hour classes is not considered a certification and does not meet the requirements specified in OSHA standards.
Gaining OSHA Certification
Authorized Training Centers—such as the United Academy—employ OSHA authorized trainers who present both mandatory and elective topics in a hands-on construction setting. OSHA authorized trainers have completed the Outreach Training Program 30-hour classes and the one-week course for trainers. In addition, trainers must complete updated courses every four years. But the distinguishing factor about trainers becomes apparent through their real-time experience qualify as an OSHA-approved trainer, an individual must have at least five years of safety and health experience.
The training combines the 10-hour and 30-hour formats with the mix of required and optional topics to meet specific employer and site needs. For example, the United Academy OSHA-10 training covers:
- Fall protection
- Electrical safety
- Trench and excavation hazards
- Personal protective equipment
- Life-saving equipment
The United Academy OSHA-10 training meets the OSHA mandate for two days (7.5 hours each) of instruction and culminates with the presentation of a proof of completion and 10-hour OSHA card. While the OSHA-10 training offers two hours of electives, the four-day OSHA-30 training covers additional topics such as stairways and ladders, and includes twelve hours of elective topics. Completion of the OSHA-30 course ends with the presentation of a certificate for course completion.
Reap the Benefits of OSHA Certification
Key benefits accompany obtaining OSHA certification. Graduates of the OSHA-10 and OSHA-30 courses can easily identify changes in work practices and behaviors that lead to improved safety. In turn, they can assist other workers in attaining a better awareness of safety and health. Serving as mentors, OSHA certified employees help to cultivate a culture of safety and health, giving new construction workers a much better perspective on workplace safety.
OSHA-10 and OSHA-30 graduates may also become the “competent person” addressed in OSHA standards. In this context, competency occurs through the capability to identify existing and predictable hazards in the work environment or conditions that may result in harm to employees. Given their training and certification, the “competent person” gains authority to correct and eliminate hazards. Moreover, a “competent person” has the knowledge of OSHA standards needed to focus on specific operations and to find methods for achieving compliance.
Well-trained employees also have less risk for accidents. Workers become less prone to carrying objects while climbing ladders, more likely to check scaffolds for proper construction and guards, and more likely to observe electrical safety. They better understand the necessity of reading Material Safety Data Sheets and emergency action plans. Good habits such as wearing the correct personal protection equipment and using the proper shoring equipment for trenching become the norm.
Employees who have completed OSHA certification gain the ability to speak a common language of safety. As such, terminology about the good safety practices begins to become a workplace or industry standard. The standardization seen through the attendance of OSHA-10 and OSHA-30 courses also enhances the employability of workers. Employers can easily determine that a prospective worker has become well-trained in workplace safety and health issues.
Having OSHA-certified workers also aids employers with assuring insurance carriers and OSHA that the workplace observes safety and health standards. Establishing workplace rules for safety and health compliance becomes much easier. The presence of OSHA-certified workers also assists the company with preparations for an OSHA visit and any questions that may surface if an accident occurs.