OSHA Revises Outreach Training Programs

OSHA recently revised its policy for all Outreach Training Programs to address the number of hours each day a student may spend in OSHA 10- and 30-hour classes. OSHA revised the length of daily classroom instruction to prevent workers from being saturated with so much information that they may miss content that could prevent injuries, illnesses, and death.

Revised program policy now requires OSHA trainers to limit worker training classes to a maximum of 7.5 hours per day. Before OSHA made this change, there were no limitations on how long these classes could last each day. With 10 hours of training, along with necessary breaks and lunch, students could sit in classes for up to 13 hours a day. OSHA became concerned that long, mentally-fatiguing class days might cause students to miss essential safety and health training.

Another concern was that, in some cases, one- and three-day training classes were not meeting 10- and 30-hour program time requirements. This concern became evident after OSHA conducted random records audits and unannounced monitoring visits.

To address these issues, the agency now requires OSHA outreach trainers to conduct 10-hour courses over a minimum of two days and 30-hour courses over at least four days. The agency also set up an outreach fraud hotline at 847-725-7810 to which the public can call to file complaints about program fraud and abuse.

"Limiting daily class hours will help ensure that workers receive and retain quality safety training," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.

This policy change is effective immediately and will be reflected in the next revision of the Outreach Training Program Guidelines. OSHA will not recognize training classes that exceed 7.5 hours per day or do not meet all program content requirements. In such cases trainers will not receive completion cards to distribute to students. Trainers may, however, submit written requests for exceptions to limiting training days to 7.5 hours based on extenuating circumstances.

The Outreach Training Program, a voluntary participation information resource, is part of OSHA's Directorate of Training and Education, comprises a national network of more than 17,000 independent trainers who teach workers and employers about OSHA, workers' rights and how to identify, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. There are 10- and 30-hour outreach classes for construction, general industry and maritime and 16-hour classes for disaster site workers. Students who successfully complete classes receive completion cards.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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