OSHA Online Safety Certification

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance is a necessity for the workplace. Employers are required by law to provide a safe and healthful working place, free of recognized hazards. According to OSHA regulations, workers should be trained to recognize potential dangers and gain awareness of general safety procedures. Many employers are turning to the ease of online safety certification to assist with these goals.


Based on years of cumulative research, employee training is a common denominator in accident prevention. This is why OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is firm on requiring worker safety certification. Training saves lives and it's the law. From an employer standpoint, safety education minimizes lost work time incidents and greatly reduces operating expenses.


What should you train employees on? Nearly every industrial aspect that presents a reasonable risk of injury requires training. Consult the Federal Code of Regulations (CFR) for clarifications. In general, areas that affect many, (if not all) workplaces are Forklift (29 CFR 1910.178), Lockout and Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147), Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200) and Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030).


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Online OSHA certifications lighten the load of Compliance Officers, whose duties typically involve training. In addition, online sessions are flexible and usually quite cost effective as opposed to outsourcing with a consulting firm.


In typical online training, the employees watch a video component or a Webinar, which is followed by written or computer generated tests. Employees must pass the tests to gain certification. There are a host of services that offer this training method. Industry giants, such as BLR and JJ Keller, offer over 100 topics to choose from. Many of these are provided in Spanish as well as English. For a fee-per-topic or a one-time annual charge, employers access data banks to download training programs.


When electing to use online training, employers should review applicable regulations. Additional components may apply. For example, forklift standards require operational testing and job specific training, regarding hazards of each individual workplace (i.e. pedestrian areas or traffic). Respirator certification, likewise, is a three-part process involving a pulmonary function test, training on storage and use of respirators and a respirator fit test.


In addition, there are many management certification trainings available online. OSHA 10-Hour classes can be obtained online. These are valuable for a comprehensive knowledge of OSHA law. Others such as workplace violence prevention, pandemic training and labor related classes may prove beneficial to compliance mangers.

Expert Insight

Employers should remember that nearly all training has to be specific for hazards workers are exposed to at their job site. Online certification, while beneficial for providing basics, rarely satisfies all the legalities. Instead, regard Internet learning as a tool to assist in safety goals, not as the total solution to an entire company's OSHA requirements. Follow up all online training with a question and answer format and be sure to assess employee's competence regularly.



About the Author

Leanne Coffman has worked since 2004 as a writer, consultant and expert witness for litigation. She facilitates training programs for management and staff of international hospitals and national companies in physical and technical security, emergency procedures, disaster response, workplace and fire safety and OSHA/HSE compliance. Coffman is a licensed training provider for the American Red Cross and Subject Matter Expert for multiple sources.

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