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Using the OSHA Outreach Training Program to Improve Job Site Safety

Job Site Safety

Construction has a bad record when it comes to work site safety. One in five work site fatalities is in construction, with falls, electrocution, being struck and getting caught in machinery being the fatal four accident types that accounted for almost 60% of the fatality rate. An accident on the job means more than a worker's comp case; it also represents a loss of skilled labor, the need to train a new employee to take that person's place, loss of crew morale and lower productivity. It can also lead to OSHA citations, negligence lawsuits and other legal problems for your business. How do you ensure your workers are getting appropriate training in safety and health concerns? OSHA has developed its Outreach Training Program to help employers meet those needs.

What is it?

The Outreach Training Program was developed to give employees some basic information and education on safety and health concerns in the industry. It helps employees learn how to recognize, avoid, mitigate and prevent issues with hazards in the construction industry work place. Employees also learn about their rights, the employer's responsibilities and how to go about filing a complaint.

OSHA's Outreach Training Program is a voluntary educational opportunity, though it can be required by states, municipalities and other agencies or organizations. It doesn't provide a certification for the employee, only good information on safety on the construction job site. The classes are taught by OSHA-authorized trainers, with a 10 hour class for general employees and a 30 hour program for foremen, supervisors or workers who have responsibility for safety on a job site or within a company. That being said, the 30 hour class is a great program for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge and awareness of safety issues on the job site to a higher level.

What it isn't

Construction Workers Training

But just sending an employee to a class doesn't mean that you're done with your responsibility to worker safety. For example, if you have an employee who needs training under a specific OSHA standard, the general Outreach Training Program won't fulfill that need. You'll still need to send that worker to a specific class, certification exam, job site apprenticeship or similar training. It doesn't mean that you can ignore safety concerns on the job site either because you expect the workers who have been through the training to take care of the problem.

So what else do you need to do beyond OSHA's Outreach Training Program? You should still put your workers through additional training for specific work site hazards, safe tool usage, appropriate job site behavior and use of personal protective equipment. In many cases, you'll be required to either provide or require employees to obtain personal protective equipment to deal with the hazards of the job. You will want to make sure you do regular walk throughs and inspections of the work site and the material and equipment being used on the job to ensure that everything is operating safely and within specifications. Make sure you have a system set up where employees can report unsafe conditions, anonymously if possible.

By taking advantage of the OSHA Outreach Training Program, you can ensure that your employees are learning at least the basics of safety on the job site. Requiring this education of your new hires helps protect you against frivolous lawsuits, because you can document that the worker attended the class as a requirement for employment. You'll also see a reduction in accidents on the job, ensuring higher productivity and better work site morale.

PS - If you need more information on how to keep your crew operating safely, please download our free Safety and Health Brochure below.

Safety and Health Brochure CTA

Sources: osha.gov

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.