When working, managing, or owning a business in the trades industry whether it be electrical, welding, HVAC, plumbing, or construction- safety should be the number one priority. The trades as a whole require you to achieve the proper safety training such as OSHA 10, OSHA 30, and HAZWOPPER (OSHA 40). Each OSHA class is specific to your needs as an industry worker, whether you need basic construction needs or you need to dive into the supervisor roles in safety. As each trade, there may be additional safety certifications and classes that you must take such as forklift training, lift certifications, fall protection, scaffolding user, and first aid CPR.
These safety certifications are not only for yourself and making sure you stay safe and know how to avoid certain dangerous situations, but to also act as a benefit for the company you work with. It is a way for them to know who is qualified enough to do certain tasks on the job site.
Safety is always a recurring issue within the industry, because some individuals may not be trained properly for tasks they are assigned. Or perhaps they have had all the proper training, but they don’t follow the rules and tips they were taught. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2018, there were 150,000 injuries and over 1,000 deaths reported.
Now, how do you know which certifications to get based on your trade? Well, most companies will send you to the proper training once you are hired before you step foot on any job site. However, if you are wanting to get the training on your own and be prepared for your first day on the job, here is a break down of the different certifications that you may need. Note: Some of these may be mandatory and some may not be, You may also be required to take extra training and certifications based on your company’s standards and the tasks you are assigned daily.
This is the first step for most certifications, because it covers the basics of construction and workplace safety. Just about everyone in the industry will take this certification no matter their job title or a daily job. Some of the topics that OSHA 10 covers are slip and fall protection, ladder safety, fire prevention, electrical hazards, PPE (personal protective equipment), dangers of equipment, and the hazards of chemicals. With the course, you typically get exposed to real life situations in which you have to choose the right procedures, as well as an instructor to ask questions and a study guide, ending with a final exam. Once you pass, you are given a card that states the OSHA level you completed and your name.
OSHA 30 is a 20-hour OSHA class, but you take the OSHA 10 first which then gets you to OSHA 30. This level of OSHA is more geared towards supervisors, and foremen. This level dives deeper into fall procedures with major falls, caught in between and struck-by hazards for all situations. They also touch on crane hazards, steel structure hazards, confined spaces, choosing the correct PPE, fire hazards, and MSD and RMD injuries. You’re probably wondering what MSD and RMD stand for. Well, MSD is Muscular Skeleton Disorders and RMD stands for Rhythmic Movement Disorder. With this level of OSHA, you are also trained on bloodborne pathogens and hazardous materials, as far as medical. Just like with OSHA 10, you are given case studies from real life events and workshops to help you better learn the materials.
Now we move onto the highest level of OSHA training that is offered with HAZWOPER. This level is broken down into three different sections: 8 hours, 24 hours, and 40 hours.
This OSHA class is a refresher that allows construction workers who have previously done the training refresh their minds with the tips, tricks, and rules of OSHA. The topics include decontamination, toxicology, levels of protection, hazardous materials, respirators, site safety, and hazardous waste/communication. All the necessities of OSHA refreshed in an 8-hour course.
This level is for managers and workers that are exposed to job sites where they are dealing with hazardous materials. This level touches on fall protection, emergencies on the site, decontamination, hazardous materials, and regulations within the industry.
This is the big whopper with OSHA and contains everything that you need to know as a worker in the industry no matter what your role may be. There are two different sections of this level for general site workers, as well as management and supervisors. With this being the highest level of an OSHA cert available, it covers everything from an introduction to OSHA, agency regulations, fall protection, excavations, fire prevention, electrocution, PPE, drums and containers, ergonomics, and so on.
If you want more information on the different levels of OSHA and what they entail, visit www.oshaeducationcenter.com.
The Training Process
Typically, you are sent to your specific training once you hired on with a company. Sometimes they will pay for it and sometimes they won’t. Other times you may receive the training in your vocational school if they offer it with your tuition. Either way, the process usually starts with you being sent to all your required certification and training before you step foot onto your job site. Once you are on the job working and received your training, the only thing you have to worry about with OSHA is a refresher every 5-10 years depending on the requirements of your company and the certifications you have.
We are all for safety, and believe that it is very important with any job, especially in the construction trades. Without the proper training and knowledge, you may be put into a situation that you don’t know how to handle which can cause injury to you and those around you. Make sure you are properly educated and are comfortable in your daily job. If you are in anyway unsure, speak to a supervisor so they can get you the proper training to keep yourself and your coworkers safe.