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OSHA Construction vs General Industry: Which Do You Need?

Editorial Team June 11, 2019 Comments Off on OSHA Construction vs General Industry: Which Do You Need?
OSHA Construction vs General Industry: Which Do You Need?

Training is a critical requirement for OSHA compliance.

But it can be a daunting task to figure out who needs OSHA training, what kind, and how much.  Below, we’ll break down different types of OSHA training and who needs what.

Why is OSHA Training Necessary?

Since 1971, OSHA has adopted and enforced safety standards to protect workers from work-related injury, illness, and death. As part of that mission, employers have to train workers on how to do their job safely. You have to teach them about OSHA safety standards and how to comply.

The requirement isn’t theoretical—OSHA compliance officers will check during an inspection.  They have to verify that employees have received training, that they understood it, and that the training adequately addressed the “requirements and intent” of OSHA standards.

In other words, paperwork isn’t enough. The training has to be effective and comprehensive for each employee.

The most hassle-free option is to use an OSHA-authorized training provider.  Outreach courses typically cover the basics for an industry—10-Hour courses for workers, 30-Hour courses for supervisors and managers.  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 authorizes Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training as well, 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 both legal compliance and the safety of your workforce. 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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