OSHA training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces OSHA regulations. Regulations addressing a particular safety issue (such as, for example, hazardous substances) are known as safety standards. OSHA divides businesses into one of four industries: General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. Healthcare organizations, along with most other businesses, are part of General Industry. Each industry must comply with a specific set of standards. In turn, most standards contain their own specific training requirements. What is OSHA training, and how does one become OSHA certified? OSHA training requirements are discussed below.

What Does OSHA Training Consist Of? 

Most OSHA standards contain some kind of training requirement. The requirement generally dictates what organizations must train employees on, how often an organization must provide that training, and what records (if any) must be kept of OSHA training materials (i.e., attendance records, presentations, videos, lectures).

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All required OSHA training must be given to workers in a language and vocabulary that they understand. When an employee’s vocabulary is limited, OSHA training must account for the limitation. If an employee is not literate, the organization must provide OSHA employee training requirements verbally, and through use of visual aids such as diagrams, pictograms, and labels.

To ensure OSHA training is understood, businesses must provide non-English-speaking employees with training in the employees’ primary language. OSHA encourages businesses to provide instruction in learning English to non-English speaking employees interested in learning the language.

Certain standards require that employees “acquire” knowledge and skills as a result of OSHA training. To ensure that this knowledge is required, businesses should (and in many cases are required to) provide retraining whenever an employee indicates a lack of understanding of training. 

How Often Must OSHA Training Be Conducted?

OSHA standards that contain a training requirement typically require that employee training be conducted “at least annually.” OSHA interprets that to mean that employees must be provided re-training at least once every 12 months (i.e., within a time period not exceeding 365 days). 

Certain circumstances may warrant more frequent OSHA training. Businesses must provide training, as needed, to enable employees to protect themselves from workplace hazards, including new hazards which may result from changes in workplace practices, procedures, or tasks.  

Must OSHA Training be Documented?

Many OSHA standards require documentation and record-keeping of training. Businesses must keep records of all OSHA training requirements when a standard requires them. Even when a standard does not require that records of training be kept, maintaining the records is a good best practice. In the event a business is investigated, documentation of training provides a record OSHA will consider in making compliance determinations.