OSHA Reduces Daily Hours for 10- and 30-Hour Training to Avoid Mental Fatigue, Improve Training

OSHA recently revised its policy for all Outreach Training Programs to address the number of hours each day a student may spend in OSHA 10- and 30-hour classes in an effort to prevent workers from being saturated with so much information that they may miss content that could prevent injuries, illnesses and death.

The revised program policy now requires OSHA trainers to limit worker training classes to a maximum of 7-and-a-half hours per day. Prior to this change, there were no limitations on how long these classes could last each day. With 10 hours of training, along with necessary breaks and lunch, students could sit in classes for up to 13 hours a day. OSHA became concerned that long, mentally fatiguing class days might cause students to miss essential safety and health training.

The agency also was concerned that, in some cases, 1- and 3-day training classes were not meeting 10- and 30-hour program time requirements. This concern became evident after OSHA conducted random records audits and unannounced monitoring visits.

To address these issues, the agency now requires OSHA outreach trainers to conduct 10-hour courses over a minimum of 2 days and 30-hour courses over at least 4 days. The agency also set up an outreach fraud hotline at 847-725-7810 to which the public can call to file complaints about program fraud and abuse.

“Limiting daily class hours will help ensure that workers receive and retain quality safety training,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels.

This policy change is effective immediately and will be reflected in the next revision of the Outreach Training Program Guidelines. OSHA will not recognize training classes that exceed 7-and-a-half hours per day or do not meet all program content requirements. In such cases trainers will not receive completion cards to distribute to students. Trainers may, however, submit written requests for exceptions to limiting training days to 7-and-a-half hours based on extenuating circumstances.

The Outreach Training Program, a voluntary participation information resource, is part of OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education, comprises a national network of more than 17,000 independent trainers who teach workers and employers about OSHA, workers’ rights and how to identify, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. There are 10- and 30-hour outreach classes for construction, general industry and maritime and 16-hour classes for disaster site workers.

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