Overview of Online OSHA Safety Certification Courses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, outlines standards that many industries, particularly construction/manufacturing, must meet in order to operate safely and effectively. People who are looking to work in these industries typically must pass a course that teaches them how to abide by the standards. This is often called OSHA certification by employers, but official OSHA certification doesn't actually exist because the courses are considered voluntary by the organization. What can be mistaken as OSHA certification is the OSHA 10 or 30-hour Outreach Training Program course; these are the courses employers typically require and may title them as certifications on job postings.
OSHA Outreach Training courses are taught by trainers who have been authorized by OSHA but are not OSHA employees. There are training courses offered by non-OSHA-authorized organizations and these may be perfectly fine, but sticking to an authorized trainer isn't a bad idea.
These courses can be done completely online and typically last 10 or 30 hours, depending on which course is taken. However, online courses can be self-paced, so it may take longer. There are courses for construction workers, healthcare professionals, and factory and warehouse staff, among others. The 10-hour courses are for entry-level employees while the 30-hour courses are for supervisors and other senior-level staff.
OSHA Safety Certification Requirements
There are no age, education, or employment requirements for OSHA course participants. However, it is a good idea to be working in the industry or aspiring to work in the industry that a course is related to. Participants will have to pay a fee to enroll; the fee for the 30-hour course is typically larger than the 10-hour course fee. Prices range from around $60 to $100 for the 10-hour course to $125 to $190 for the 30-hour course. There are also no official continuing education requirements from OSHA, but individual employers may require them in order to stay up-to-date on safety protocols.
OSHA Training Course Topics
OSHA training courses are divided into hours and industries. For example, there are 10- and 30-hour classes for construction workers, general industry workers, maritime industry workers, and disaster site workers. However, construction and general are the courses most commonly offered online. Each course covers safety hazards and protocols, as well as workers' rights, for each industry.
OSHA 10 construction courses cover basic safety hazards and protocols on construction sites, such as fall protection, health hazards, tools, and personal protective equipment, among others. OSHA 30 construction courses cover the same topics as the 10-hour courses, but they also cover other topics such as fire protection and prevention, excavations, scaffolding, and confined spaces, among others.
OSHA 10 general industry courses cover safety hazards and protocols for worksites in industries such as factories and warehousing. Some topics can include electrical hazards, fixed and portable ladder safety, and emergency action plans. OSHA 30 general industry courses also cover these topics, but they expand the material with other topics such as record keeping, bloodborne pathogens, and ergonomics. They also provide case studies.
Careers for OSHA Certification
There are several careers that can benefit from completing OSHA training; many are in the construction and manufacturing industries.
Construction helpers work with construction craftworkers, such as carpenters, roofers, and electricians, to build commercial and residential properties. They assist with tasks such as setting up worksites and preparing materials to be used during construction, such as setting forms for pouring concrete. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2019 that the median annual pay for construction helpers was $36,000. The number of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 11% from 2018-2028.
Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemblers and fabricators are a part of the manufacturing process for finished products. They can assemble both the parts that go into finished products as well as the products themselves. Assemblers and fabricators can work with all types of products, ranging from toys to aircraft equipment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated in 2019 that the median annual wage for assemblers and fabricators was $33,710. Jobs in the profession are expected to decline by 11% from 2018-2028.
Official OSHA safety certification does not exist, but there are OSHA safety training courses that employees usually must take before working in certain industries. These courses can be done online and are designed for both entry-level employees and managers.