Posted On: February 9, 2024

OSHA Construction vs General Industry: Which Do You Need?

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“Which OSHA 10/30 do I need?" is a common question for anyone who’s seeking a DOL card. There are different levels of training, which are determined by your role, and different industries, which are determined by the type of work.

The most common industries are Construction and General Industry. How do you decide which course to take? We'll explain below. 

Which OSHA Card Do You Need?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, sets the guidelines and standards for certain industries to create safer working environments for their employees. While OSHA itself doesn’t directly provide certification, it sets training requirements in specific areas to help employers and employees prevent workplace accidents and injuries.

OSHA Outreach training goes by many names. It is often called a "DOL card" because, at the end of the course, you get a plastic wallet card issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). Sometimes, a DOL card is called "OSHA certification," though this isn't exactly accurate.

Outreach courses are designed to be a basic workplace safety primer, and OSHA considers them optional. However, they are required in some cases.

There are a dozen different types of DOL cards, but there are four that are most common: OSHA 10 Construction, OSHA 10 General Industry, OSHA 30 Construction, and OSHA 10 General Industry.

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OSHA 10-Hour Construction Course

OSHA 10 Outreach for construction covers 29 CFR 1926 regulations. DOL card included.

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OSHA 30-Hour Construction Course

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

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OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Course

OSHA 10 Outreach general industry covers 29 CFR 1910 regulations. DOL card included.

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89.00 59.99
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OSHA 30-Hour General Industry Course

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

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189.00 159.99

OSHA 10 Construction vs. General Industry

OSHA 10 is a 10-hour course that sometimes gets called "entry-level," but it has less to do with experience and more to do with not being a supervisor. It's for workers who are only responsible for themselves.

Most OSHA 10 card holders belong in either Construction or General Industry, though there are also several types of Maritime.

Once you understand OSHA's industry divisions (below), it's usually obvious which type of card you need. But if your workplace requires a DOL card, it's always a good idea to check with your employer and make sure you sign up for the type you need.

OSHA 30 Construction vs. General Industry

OSHA 30 cards are better for anyone with supervisory responsibilities, and they fall into the same categories as OSHA 10 cards. That makes sense since you want supervisors to be trained on the same sets of rules as their subordinates.

In addition to extra safety topics, the 30-hour courses tell you how to comply with OSHA standards and the extra duties that come with being a manager or foreperson.

What Are OSHA's Industries?

OSHA has many broadly applicable safety rules, but it also has some standards specific to certain industries.

The broadly applicable safety rules are considered "General Industry," which covers every type of workplace that doesn't have its own specific set of rules.

There are industry-specific standards for Construction and Agriculture. There are also several standards that get grouped together under "Maritime Industry." Certain parts of General Industry will still apply to these workplaces when not overridden by specific requirements. For example, all workplaces use the same sanitation standards.

Additionally, a few industries have their workplace safety regulated by agencies other than OSHA. That includes:

  • Maritime vessels regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG),
  • Aircraft regulated by the Federal Air Administration (FAA),
  • Underground and surface mines regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Nuclear facilities regulated by the Department of Energy (DoE). 

Most of the U.S. workforce falls into either Construction or General Industry. The OSHA standards for Construction and General Industry are also known as §1926 and §1910. That's because the standards that apply to Construction are found under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1926, while the standards for General Industry are in 29 CFR 1910.

What Is OSHA General Industry Training?

General Industry is a catchall set of rules for any workplace that isn't ruled by its own safety standards. You could say that "General Industry" is everything except construction, maritime, agriculture, aircraft, mining, and nuclear facilities.

That means the category covers everyone from manufacturing to office work.

Who Needs OSHA General Industry Training?

The broad nature of "General Industry" makes this a little more difficult to answer.

Generally speaking, workers in higher-risk fields can benefit from OSHA 10-hour General Industry Outreach Training (and OSHA 30 for supervisors). That includes healthcare, factory operations, manufacturing, and warehousing. For low-risk workplaces, OSHA 10 or 30 cards would probably be overkill. 

As for who "needs" an OSHA General Industry card, certain states or types of employers require one, so check local and industry practices. For example, Nevada legally mandates General Industry cards for all entertainment and hospitality workers.

OSHA considers General Industry cards largely optional. They create the curriculum for Outreach training but don’t require it. Instead, they require comprehensive "compliance training." All employers have to conduct some basic workplace safety training, but any workers who perform specialized tasks regulated by §1910 will need additional coursework. Outreach training can be used to cover some of your mandatory training topics, but it can't exempt you from training employees on the topics required for specific tasks and roles.

What Topics Does OSHA General Industry Training Cover?

OSHA General Industry training covers the safety standards found in 29 CFR 1910.

OSHA's 10-hour courses primarily focus on universal safety topics: Introduction to OSHA, General Safety and Health Provisions, Emergency Plans, Personal Protective Equipment, and Hazard Communication. Then, they add elective and optional courses. In most OSHA 10 packages, you'll also see topics specific to industrial work, like Electrical Safety and Machine Guarding.

OSHA 30 courses take the curriculum of OSHA 10 and build on it. There is always a Managing Safety and Health course to cover supervisory responsibilities. The remaining hours are filled out with other essential safety topics like Bloodborne Pathogens, Radiation, Confined Spaces, Welding and Cutting, and hazardous substances like silica, lead, or asbestos.

What Is OSHA Construction Training?

OSHA Construction training addresses the specific safety needs of construction sites.  It covers 29 CFR 1926 (the construction-specific standards) and the parts of §1910 (general standards) that apply on a construction site.

Who Needs OSHA Construction Training?

DOL cards are considered mandatory a lot more often in Construction than in General Industry. Some jurisdictions have a blanket requirement for all construction workers, like Pennsylvania and Nevada. Many other jurisdictions require OSHA 10 Construction cards for public works projects, so Outreach training can get you more work.

Ask around and check your local regulations to see whether Construction DOL cards are required and what level of training (10 vs. 30) you may need.

Typically, it's only foremen, engineers, supervisors, project managers, safety specialists, and the like that need OSHA 30 Construction training. However, in some jurisdictions, even lower-level construction workers are required to have extensive training.

If you're in New York City, entry-level construction workers actually need 40 hours of city-specific training.

What Topics Does OSHA Construction Training Cover?

OSHA 10-hour courses typically cover general topics identical to General Industry's. Then they focus on construction-specific concerns: Cranes and Rigging, Electrical Safety, Struck-By, Caught In/Between, Fall Protection, Power Tools, Scaffolding, Ladders, and Personal Protective Equipment.

As with General Industry, 30-hour OSHA courses add in a Managing Safety course and training on a large amount of specialized work, like Concrete and Masonry, Use of Explosives, or Excavation Safety. That's because supervisors are responsible for workers with a range of duties.

What Are The Other OSHA Standards & Cards?

There are two other industry-specific standards aside from Construction: Maritime and Agriculture. There's also one type of DOL card that doesn't have a corresponding standard: Disaster Site Worker.

What Are OSHA Maritime Standards?

OSHA offers six different DOL cards covering the standards lumped together as Maritime. That's because there are three sub-industries with their own rules: Shipyards, Marine Terminals, and Longshoring. Then, each subcategory has its own 10 and 30 cards.

These courses cover the appropriate OSHA Maritime standards: shipyards (29 CFR 1915), marine terminals (§1917), and longshoring (§1918). Gear certification standards (§1919) apply to all three.

Maritime Outreach Training providers are fewer in number than Construction or General Industry, but they're easily located on the internet. Make sure you're signing up for the proper subtype and that the training provider is in good standing with OSHA.

What Are OSHA Agriculture Standards?

While OSHA gives Agriculture its own standard (29 CFR 1928), there is no dedicated Outreach curriculum for the industry. Instead, OSHA has a list of recommended resources.

If you're looking for prepackaged training, some OSHA-authorized training providers do provide an adapted General Industry card curriculum targeted at agricultural workers.

What is Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training?

OSHA authorizes one final category of DOL card: Disaster Site Worker. These Outreach courses address the specific hazards of natural or man-made disasters, but there's no corresponding standard.

Disaster Site Worker DOL cards are also a little odd in that they're shorter. They're 7.5 and 15 hours long instead of 10/30.

Where Do You Get OSHA 10/30 Cards Online?

OSHA training is crucial for both legal compliance and your workforce's safety. These days, you can provide workers with online OSHA coursework instead of classroom training. It offers flexible scheduling and a self-paced experience for individual workers. It's also more efficient, consistent, and cost-effective. 

We're a leading OSHA-authorized provider with over twenty years of experience. We offer OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 cards for both Construction and General Industry, in both English and Spanish.

Additionally, we carry various specific OSHA courses that your workforce needs for full compliance. We carry other safety training courses, as well, like DOT.  And we offer whole-business solutions to make training compliance simple. Contact us today!

Employers are also responsible for adding task-specific training for each worker according to their duties. It's worth noting that the type of work dictates the training you need, not the type of employer.

If you ask a maintenance worker to perform construction or repair, you're legally responsible for making sure they know how to safely complete that work.  Sometimes there's a fine line between maintenance and construction.  The scale and complexity of the job matters.

What is OSHA Construction Training?

OSHA Construction training addresses the specific safety needs of construction sites.  It covers 29 CFR 1926 (the construction-specific standards) and some of 1910 (general standards).

Who Needs OSHA Construction Training?

You need OSHA Construction training if you're a construction worker or a contractor.  Entry-level workers need OSHA 10-Hour Construction Safety Outreach Training.  Workers may need additional training for specialized work.

Anyone with supervisory responsibilities should take OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Outreach Training.  That includes foremen, engineers, supervisors, project managers, and safety specialists.

What Topics Does OSHA Construction Training Cover?

OSHA 10-Hour courses typically cover general topics like Introduction to OSHA, General Safety and Health Provisions, and Hazard Communication.  Then they focus on construction-specific concerns: Cranes and Rigging, Electrical Safety, Struck-By, Caught In/Between, Fall Protection, Power Tools, Scaffolding, and Ladders, as well as the personal protective equipment needed to keep workers safe.

OSHA requires specific training before employees perform specialized work, including Confined Space Entry, Concrete and Masonry, Use of Explosives, or Excavation Safety.  Most heavy equipment requires its own training, as well. Those topics don't appear in the 10-Hour course, but they're often rolled into 30-Hour courses since supervisors are responsible for workers with a range of duties.

What is OSHA General Industry Training?

OSHA has specific standards for Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. Any other employer or worker falls into the catchall of "General Industry." That means the category covers everyone from manufacturing to office work. OSHA General Industry training covers standards in 29 CFR 1910.

Who Needs OSHA General Industry Training?

The broad nature of "General Industry" makes this one a little more difficult to answer. All employers have to conduct some basic workplace safety training. In low-risk industries, that won't involve anything as extensive as a 10-Hour course.

There are no universal rules for who requires 10-Hour or 30-Hour courses (sometimes known as a "DOL Card"). Certain states or types of employers require it, so check local and industry practices.  Generally speaking, workers in higher-risk fields need OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Outreach Training. That includes healthcare, factory operations, manufacturing, and warehousing.

Any workers that perform specialized tasks regulated under 1910 will need additional coursework. Foremen, engineers, supervisors, project managers, and safety specialists will need OSHA 30-Hour General Industry Outreach Training.

What Topics Does OSHA General Industry Training Cover?

OSHA 10-Hour courses largely cover universal topics: Introduction to OSHA, General Safety and Health Provisions, Emergency Plans, Personal Protective Equipment, and Hazard Communication.  A few of the topics are general to industrial work like Electrical and Machine Guarding Safety.

Topics that require additional training are as varied as Bloodborne Pathogens, Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation, Confined Spaces, Welding and Cutting, and Petroleum Refining.  Most heavy equipment requires its own training, as well.

Those topics don't appear in the 10-Hour course, but they're often rolled into OSHA 30-Hour courses since supervisors are responsible for workers with a range of duties.

Are There Other OSHA Standards?

There are two other industry-specific standards, aside from Construction: Maritime and Agriculture.

What are OSHA Maritime Standards?

OSHA Maritime standards cover shipyards (29 CFR 1915), marine terminals (1917), and longshoring (1918). Gear certification standards (1919) apply to all three. Like Construction and General Industry, Maritime Outreach Training programs are available from authorized providers in the form of 10-Hour and 30-Hour courses.

You'll notice we didn't mention coverage of things like fishing vessels or oil tankers. That's because the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) protects the safety and health of employees on most maritime vessels. OSHA's anti-discrimination and whistleblower provisions still apply. But specific safety standards and inspections are the USCG's responsibility.

What are OSHA Agriculture Standards?

OSHA Agriculture standards are laid out in 29 CFR 1928.  They address agriculture-specific hazards like the use of farm equipment and exposure to inhalants.  General Industry standards (1910) also apply.

No agriculture-specific Outreach Training program exists. Instead, OSHA has a list of recommended resources. Some OSHA-authorized training providers offer adapted versions of General Industry training, as well.

Anything Else?

OSHA also authorizes Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training, though no separate standards exist.  The training addresses the specific dangers of natural or man-made disasters.

In the same way that the USGS regulates maritime vessels, a few other industries are regulated by specialized federal agencies instead of OSHA. This includes the Department of Energy and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. 

Employers in those industries still have to educate workers about their rights under OSHA, but the other agencies handle specific safety standards and inspections.

What About Other Health & Safety Threats?

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act says employers have to protect workers from all "recognized hazards." This means they're duty-bound to minimize risks that OSHA hasn't spelled out, once they're aware they exist.

This allows OSHA to hold employers responsible for health and safety issues that aren't technically a violation of any particular standard.

Bottom Line

OSHA training is crucial to legal compliance and your workforce's safety. These days, you can provide workers with online OSHA coursework instead of classroom training. It offers flexible scheduling and a self-paced experience for individual workers. It's also more efficient, consistent, and cost-effective. 

We're a leading OSHA-authorized provider with over fifteen years of experience. We can also handle your other safety training needs, like DOT and MSHA.  And we offer whole-business solutions to make training compliance simple. Contact us today!

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