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What is the Difference Between OSHA 10 and OSHA 30?

Editorial Team June 11, 2019 Comments Off on What is the Difference Between OSHA 10 and OSHA 30?
What is the Difference Between OSHA 10 and OSHA 30?

You may have heard you need a “DOL card” before you can start work in your industry.

The Department of Labor (DOL) issues a wallet card to anyone who completes OSHA Outreach Training.  Exactly which course you need can get confusing, though.  You’ll see labels like “10-Hour Construction” and “30-Hour General Industry.”

But how do you know which course to take? Why do you need it? And what can you expect to get out of that time?

We’ve covered the differences between the “industries” in the past.  In this article, we’ll tackle the differences between the 10-Hour and 30-Hour versions of the course.

What is OSHA 10-Hour?

OSHA 10-Hour Training covers job-related health and safety hazards for entry-level workers.  It provides awareness of potential dangers and how to avoid, prevent, or mitigate them.

Who Should Take It?

If your job requires OSHA Outreach training and you DON’T have supervisory responsibilities, take OSHA 10-Hour.

Some states and locations specifically require OSHA Outreach courses for certain professions. Even when that’s not the case, employers in high-risk industries often require it because it provides a consistent foundation for safety training. Those industries include (but aren’t limited to) construction, manufacturing, warehousing, and maritime.

If you’re not sure whether you need OSHA 10-Hour training, ask your employer.  Or you can check for state or local laws requiring OSHA training or a DOL card.

How Long is It?

OSHA requires 10 full hours of “student contact” time, covering course content.  But the total number of hours you’ll spend on training will vary. Break time, testing time, and commute time are extra.  And some training methods, like online courses, allow students to take longer than 10 hours with the course material if they need it.

OSHA limits training to a maximum of 7.5 student contact hours a day, with at least 8 hours between long sessions. That means the 10-Hour course has to be spread over at least 2 days.  Trainers can choose to spread them out further.

What Topics are Covered?

Each “industry” outreach program (Construction, Maritime, and the catchall General Industry) has its own set of topic requirements. But in all cases, there are:

  • Mandatory Topics: 6-7 of the 10 hours go towards topics chosen and required by OSHA. The exact subjects vary by program.  They all require an Introduction to OSHA, where students learn about worker rights and employer responsibilities.  The rest are essential safety topics. OSHA sets a minimum number of hours for each.
  • Elective Topics: OSHA provides a list of specific industry procedures, and course designers choose which topics are most relevant for their students. At least half an hour has to be devoted to each topic.
  • Optional Topics: OSHA guidelines leave a couple of hours that can be used to cover unspecified safety topics, choose additional electives, or devote more time to a topic beyond its mandatory minimum.

This setup gives the courses a degree of consistency while allowing trainers the flexibility they need to tailor the course to their students.

What is OSHA 30-Hour?

OSHA 30-Hour Training is designed to give supervisors a broader and deeper understanding of job-related health and safety topics so that they can properly manage the safety of an entire team.

Who Should Take It?

If your industry requires OSHA Outreach training and you have supervisory responsibility for worker safety, you should take OSHA 30-Hour.

OSHA 30-Hour courses are appropriate for foremen, engineers, supervisors, site leads, project managers, and safety specialists.

If you’re not sure whether you need OSHA 30-Hour training, ask your employer.  Or you can check for state or local laws requiring OSHA training or a DOL card.

How Long is It?

OSHA requires 30 full hours of instructional time. Breaks, testing, and travel don’t count.  Some training methods, like online courses, allow students to take longer with the course material if they need it.

OSHA limits training to a maximum of 7.5 student contact hours a day, with at least 8 hours between long sessions. That means the 30-Hour course has to be spread over at least 4 days.

What Topics are Covered?

Each “industry” outreach program (Construction, Maritime, and the catchall General Industry) has its own set of topic requirements. But in all cases, there are:

  • Mandatory Topics: About half of the course time goes into topics chosen and required by OSHA. The exact subjects vary.  All programs require an Introduction to OSHA and several hours on managerial responsibilities.  The rest of the time goes towards essential safety topics. OSHA sets a minimum number of hours for each.
  • Elective Topics: Course designers choose relevant industry procedures from a list that OSHA provides. The 30-Hour course covers more elective topics than the 10-Hour course since supervisors need to know the safety protocols for all their employees. At least half an hour has to be devoted to each topic they choose.
  • Optional Topics: OSHA guidelines leave a couple of hours that course designers can use to introduce unspecified safety topics, choose additional electives, or devote extra time where needed.

How Do You Pass?

You need to attend and complete the entire 10 or 30 hours of content review.  And while OSHA doesn’t require any kind of testing, many providers use an exam to confirm that you’ve learned the material. In those cases, a passing grade is required (however the instructor defines it). For example, our Outreach courses require you answer 70% of multiple-choice questions correctly.

Do You Need Both?

No. Over the course of your career, you may need to take each.  But OSHA 10-Hour isn’t a prerequisite for OSHA 30-Hour. In fact, if you take a 10-Hour course and then discover you need a 30-Hour card soon after, OSHA allows you to count the original hours towards your certification.

OSHA DOL Cards and Certification

Once you’ve passed your Outreach course, you’ll get two documents:

  • Wallet Cards (Department of Labor cards) are only available through authorized providers after you complete one of the Outreach Training courses we’ve discussed. Your card will be mailed to you after the course. Since 2016, these cards are made of durable plastic, so you can carry it with you to show employers or inspectors.
  • Certificates are issued immediately and act as proof that you completed the course before your wallet card arrives. Employers need to provide records of training to OSHA, so they might need a copy. You’ll get one of these for any OSHA course, not just the Outreach courses.  For example, if you take a separate Sit-Down Forklift training, you’ll get a certificate for everyone’s records.

Bottom Line

OSHA Outreach courses are required in certain lines of work.  You can get training online or in a classroom. But check that the provider is OSHA-authorized.  Otherwise, it won’t count!

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