Founded in the 1970s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been working to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities through training and safety standards. These standards specifically require employers to ensure their employees are well educated on the hazards they may come across while discharging their duties.
OSHA has developed a “summary” of Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, but ensuring training requirements are fully met can be a daunting task.
This article contains a detailed explanation of the construction industry and OSHA training. It highlights the relevance of the training to the construction industry. Just in case you are still wondering why you need any or both the OSHA 10-hour and OSHA 30- hour training, let’s dig in.
How does OSHA define a “Construction Worker”?
OSHA defines “construction work” under 29 CFR 1910, section 1910.12(b) as “work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating.” By this definition, every other employee that works on maintenance and upkeep of facilities would be considered a “general industry” workers.
Size and complexity also matter as OSHA may consider some ‘maintenance’ employees to be doing ‘construction work’. To this effect, 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.
OSHA TRAINING VITAL FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS?
OSHA has its categorization and has special consideration for construction workers in the private industry. According to OSHA, private industry construction workers have a fatality rate that is three times larger than other industries. This makes training for private construction workers even very important.
OSHA’s Construction Focus Four also known as the Fatal Four accounted for 58.6% of all fatalities in the construction sector.
The Focus Four according to OSHA include:
- Fall Hazards — this is the single most deadly hazard in the construction industry, it accounts for 33.5% of construction fatalities. Falls can occur off roofs, leading edges of structural steel, scaffolding, portable ladders, through-holes or on working surfaces
- Caught In/Between Hazards — Caught-in or between hazards accounts for 5.5% of all deaths on construction sites. This is 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 accounts for 11.1% of all construction site fatalities. It includes falling objects falling on sites, equipment tip over, rigging failure, or fall from shifting or lose materials, being struck by flying objects. It is particularly dangerous for employees working around traffic or heavy equipment.
- Electrocution Hazards — this accounts for 8.5% of construction site fatalities. Electrocution hazards should be taken seriously at all points not only on construction sites. Training relating to electrocution focuses on de-energizing circuits and ensuring that no charge remains. Electrocution hazards include contact with overhead powerlines, contact with live circuits in panels, poorly maintained cords, and of course lightning strikes.
All the OSHA training courses for Construction are required to cover these hazards in-depth you can read more on 360 Training.
OSHA OUTREACH TRAINING
Employees categorized as 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.
The OSHA outreach training is created to help workers meet the training requirements 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.
The 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, some workers need to carry their 10-hour or 30-hour OSHA card with them at all times as mandated by their state.
- The 10-hour training (and the OSHA 10 card) is recommended for all construction workers.
- The 30-hour training (and the OSHA 30 card) on the other hand is recommended for any construction employee with supervisory or safety-related responsibilities.
REQUIREMENT WITHIN STATE
Some states have mandated Outreach courses as compulsory for certain workers. The following states have these requirements:
Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Missouri.
For many other states, having OSHA training is not a requirement but in due time it will be necessary.
There are plans in place for state and federal regulators to establish a baseline of safety training for workers before they even step foot onto a worksite. OSHA-authorized training is an effective and reliable way to prove that efforts have been made to inform workers of the common hazards that can happen on construction sites.