OSHA Revises Outreach Training Program to Improve Trainer Reliability

April 18, 2011
OSHA recently revised its voluntary Outreach Training Program procedures to include trainer verification requirements and other changes to improve training quality and ensure the integrity of its authorized instructors.

The new requirements now include a trainer code of conduct and a statement of compliance, which requires each trainer to verify that the training he or she conducts will be in accordance with the program requirements and procedures. Other enhancements involve limiting classroom size to a maximum of 40 students; limiting the use of translators to those with safety and health experience; and limiting the amount of time spent on videos during the training.

Formerly known as the program guidelines, the new “program requirements” will apply to all Outreach Training Programs, with separate procedures for each specific program.

“These revisions will serve to tighten the program controls to ensure the best training is provided to the worker participants,” said OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels. “Trainer reliability will be enhanced and classes will focus more on fulfilling students’ needs for safety and health training.”

Additional Changes

The agency also is making the following changes to the Outreach Training Program:

  • Imposing limits on outreach training conducted outside of OSHA’s jurisdiction.
  • Allotting military members returning from overseas an additional 90 days from their return date to renew their trainer authorization.
  • Requiring trainers to issue course completion cards to students within 90 days of class completion.
  • Requiring trainers to provide the course completion card directly to the student, allowing students to have proof of training completion to display at any job site and help prevent organizations from withholding the card from a worker.
  • Adding record requirements to impose tougher advertising restrictions and revising the rules for using guest trainers.

Finally, the training class content has changed. All construction classes are required to include 4 hours on Focus Four Hazards. All 30-hour classes must include 2 hours on Managing Safety and Health. The new requirements and procedures also integrate recent requirements, which require training classes to last a maximum of 7.5 hours per day and include a new, 2-hour Introduction to OSHA training module.

The Outreach Training Program, a voluntary participation information resource, is part of OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education. The program comprises a national network of more than 17,000 independent trainers who teach workers and employers about OSHA; worker rights; and how to identify, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. The program includes 10- and 30-hour outreach classes for construction, general industry and maritime, and 15-hour classes for disaster site workers.

For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/program_requirements.html.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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