OSHA chief David Michaels

New OSHA Training Emphasizes Workers' Rights

"Introduction to OSHA," a new training component emphasizing workers' rights, is required content in every OSHA 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training Program class. The agency said it developed the information in support of the Secretary of Labor's goal of strengthening the voice of workers.

The information in the program affects hundreds of thousands of workers who complete Outreach Training Program classes each year, and more than 50,000 authorized OSHA Outreach Trainers. It focuses on the importance of workers' rights and advises them of their right to:

  • safe and healthful workplaces;
  • know about the presence and effects of hazardous chemicals;
  • review information about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces receive training;
  • request/file for an OSHA inspection and participate in the inspection; and
  • be free from retaliation for exercising their safety and health rights.

"For too long workers have avoided making claims of unsafe work conditions out of fear of losing their jobs," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "We are confident that this new training will embolden workers to speak up when they find work practices that endanger their lives and the lives of their co-workers."

During the 10- and 30-hour outreach training program classes, OSHA trainers will cover topics on whistleblower rights and filing a complaint, and will provide samples of a weekly fatality and catastrophe report, material data safety sheet, and the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Trainers can obtain test and answer sheets from their authorizing training organization.

The OSHA Outreach Training Program is a voluntary program that seeks to teach workers about their rights and how to identify, reduce, avoid, and prevent job-related hazards. The program includes 10- and 30-hour courses in construction, general or maritime industry safety, and health hazard recognition and prevention that is taught through a network of OSHA-authorized trainers. Over the past three years, nearly two million students have received training through this program.

For more information on the "Introduction to OSHA" program, including PowerPoint slides used in the instruction and PDFs of the program's handouts and Instructor Guide, go to www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/teachingaids.html.

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