Are You Meeting Your OSHA Training Requirements?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Employers MUST provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards."
These safety and health standards entail training guidelines, which are designed to help employers give employees the information they need to perform their roles as safely as possible. The guidelines are assembled into four industry categories: general, maritime, construction and agricultural.
Let's examine the General Industry training requirements.
For OSHA purposes, General Industry consists of businesses outside of the construction, maritime and agricultural industries. The training requirements for the General Industry can be found in OSHA's Training Requirements in OSHA Standards document, which is excerpted from Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1910.
General Industry training standards include:
- Emergency action plans. Covers application, written and oral emergency action plans, minimum elements of an emergency action plan, employee alarm system, training, and review of emergency action plan.
- Fire prevention plans. Covers application, written and oral fire prevention plans, minimum elements of a fire prevention plan, and employee information.
- Powered platforms for business maintenance. Covers operations and personal fall protection.
- Occupational noise exposure. Covers hearing protectors, training programs and access to information and training materials.
- Flammable liquids. Covers tank storage.
- Explosives and blasting agents. Covers blasting agents, water gel explosives and transportation of explosives.
- Storage and handling of liquified petroleum gases. Covers basic rules and storage systems using containers other than DOT containers.
- Storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia. Covers basic rules.
- Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals. Covers training, contractors and mechanical integrity.
- Hazardous waste operations and emergency response. Covers a wide range of training topics, including new technology programs and emergency response to hazardous substance releases.
General Industry employers must also follow training guidelines for:
- Personal protective equipment.
- General environmental controls.
- Medical services and first aid.
- Materials handling and storage.
- Machinery and machine guarding.
- Welding, cutting and brazing.
- Special industries, such as telecommunications and logging.
- Commercial driving operations.
- Electrical safety-related work practices.
Some training requirements must be conducted annually. For instance, certain employees must receive annual training on occupational noise exposure.
OSHA's training requirements vary by employer.
While the requirements may be extensive for one company, they may be minimal for another. Ultimately, it depends on the type of work your employees perform and the types of hazards they might encounter at work.
The training rules may be less rigorous for some employers. For instance, employers with 10 or fewer employees can communicate their emergency action plan orally to employees. Larger employers, however, must have a written emergency action plan.
For guidance on OSHA training requirements, consult with a risk management expert or an HR consultant. Getting professional advice is critical if you have remote employees, as this is a notable gray area.