What is OSHA 500 Training and Who is it For?

While most OSHA courses are designed to make U.S. workers aware of safety and health hazards in their workplace, a select few are designed to educate OSHA instructors.

Before an OSH professional can call themselves an "OSHA authorized instructor," they need to complete specific classes in the standards and teaching techniques they need to know.

The OSHA 500-level courses are targeted to these individuals.

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OSHA 10-Hour Construction

OSHA Outreach for construction covers 29 CFR 1926 regulations. DOL card included.

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OSHA 30-Hour Construction

OSHA 30 Outreach for construction covers 29 CFR 1926 regulations. DOL card included.

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OSHA 10-Hour General Industry

OSHA Outreach general industry covers 29 CFR 1910 regulations. DOL card included.

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OSHA 30 Hour General Industry

OSHA 30 Outreach general industry covers 29 CFR 1910 regulations. DOL card included.

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What is OSHA 500?

The OSHA 500 class itself is the Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry. Successful completion qualifies you as an OSHA-authorized trainer for construction industry courses.

OSHA 500 training isn't open to just anyone. You have to be an experienced safety professional with experience in the construction industry before you're eligible for OSHA 500 certification. There are certain prerequisites for both experience and prior training before you can enroll.

In the OSHA 500 class, participants study and apply adult learning principles and training techniques, to ensure that the courses they teach as OSHA instructors will be effective.

OSHA 500 training also covers construction industry hazards and the acceptable corrective measures per 29 CFR 1926.

The topics list for an OSHA 500 class includes topics like:

  • Requirements and Procedures for the OSHA Outreach Training Program
  • Adult Education Principles
  • How to Write Learning Objectives
  • How to Develop Training Content
  • The Use of Multimedia in Presentations
  • Training Methods and Techniques
  • Resources for Safety Training

What is an OSHA Instructor or OSHA-Authorized Trainer?

As a federal agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) focuses on creating and enforcing workplace safety regulations. They require employers to provide workplace safety training but they don't provide this training to workers directly.

Instead, the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) focuses on "training the trainers." After completing a course like OSHA 500 at an OSHA Education Center, you become an OSHA-authorized trainer who is allowed to teach OSHA Outreach courses and issue official 10-hour or 30-hour Department of Labor (DOL) cards.

These non-governmental OSHA instructors are the ones that educate the workforce. They have to maintain certain training requirements to stay in good standing as an OSHA-authorized trainer.

How to Become an OSHA Trainer

Each OSHA instructor is committed to one particular "industry" as defined by OSHA standards. The two most common are Construction and General Industry, but you can also earn a trainer card in Maritime or Disaster Site Worker.

Each "industry" has its own prerequisites and course requirements, but overall, the path is similar.

First, you must have several years' worth of safety experience in a particular OSHA "industry." The exact number of years varies by industry, between 3 and 5 years. You also need to have completed the OSHA Standards Course for your industry, and that training must be fairly recent.

The experience and education prerequisites for OSHA trainer courses are not negotiable and can't be substituted or waived. You need both the experience and the coursework.

Once you've met the prerequisites for your industry, you need to complete the appropriate OSHA Trainer Course at an OTI Education Center. These education centers are spread throughout the U.S. Some states have multiple centers, while others have none. Therefore, you may need to travel to complete your training.

Upon completion of your OSHA Trainer Course, you'll receive an industry-specific trainer card that allows you to teach Outreach courses and issue DOL 10- and 30-hour cards.

In general, OSHA authorization is valid for four years. However, OSHA can revoke or suspend your trainer card if you fail to comply with Outreach Training Program requirements and procedures. Anyone whose card is revoked or suspended goes on their publicly available Trainer Watchlist.

Each "industry" has an Update course that will renew your authorization for another four years. As of 2019, OSHA no longer allows a grace period for renewal. If your card expires, you have to repeat the longer Trainer Course, instead.

How to Become an OSHA Trainer in Construction

For the construction industry, you need 5 years of construction safety experience, though certain OSH degrees or designations may be substituted for 2 years of experience, at the discretion of the OTI Education Center where you take your training.

You also need to complete OSHA 510, Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry. This covers OSHA policies, procedures, and standards. It also covers construction safety and health principles.

The trainer course for Construction is OSHA 500, as discussed above. Special emphasis is placed on the most hazardous topics and on topics that are required for 10- and 30-hour programs.

OSHA 502, Update for Construction Industry Outreach Trainers, is the renewal course.

How to Become an OSHA Trainer in General Industry

For General Industry, you need 5 years of general industry safety experience, though certain degrees or designations can count as 2 years of experience, as explained above.

The training prerequisite is OSHA 511, Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry, which covers the relevant OSHA policies, procedures, standards, and general industry safety and health principles.

The trainer course for General Industry is OSHA 501, Trainer Course in OSHA Standards for General Industry. Just like Construction, special emphasis is placed on topics that are mandatory for the 10- and 30-hour courses, as well as the most hazardous topics.

OSHA 503, Update for General Industry Outreach Trainers, is the renewal course.

Bottom Line

OSHA's trainer rules don't just apply to in-person courses – they also apply to online OSHA training providers like us!

We've been an OSHA-authorized online training provider in both Construction and General Industry for over 20 years. We offer convenient, effective, and self-paced options for OSHA 10 and OSHA 30.

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