The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly known as OSHA, was formed in 1970 and began issuing safety standards in 1971 to ensure that all workers everywhere have the privilege of a safe workplace. Initially, OSHA only handled safety standards related to a small collection of areas, including asbestos, lead, carcinogens, and cotton dust. However, the administration expanded its scope over the decades to cover many regulations and training programs for total workplace safety.
OSHA began offering safety and health training in the 1980s through its OSHA Education Centers, and for a good reason. When you examine the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury stats, you'll see that numerous industries have elevated injury rates. Many job sites and workplaces realize this fact and want to address it head-on. Those with a deep-rooted safety culture recognize that everyone in the organization is responsible for safety, so many employers require their employees to obtain additional training from OSHA, even those frontline workers. The latter don't hold a formal title.
Since frontline workers and safety directors require slightly different training, OSHA offers two Outreach Training Programs: one that is 10 hours long (OSHA 10) and another that is 30 hours long (OSHA 30). MCR Safety has covered OSHA 10 in our article An Objective Look at OSHA 10 Safety Training. That training is geared towards all the essential workers performing a specific job every day and focuses heavily on overall workplace safety and hazard identification. Now we shift our focus to cover the OSHA 30 course, meant for safety directors, supervisors, and leaders in the workplace to share tools and information about how to establish and maintain a safe work environment.
OSHA 30 focuses more on those who are responsible for implementing safety programs.
This article will detail what makes this training program unique, what the course covers, commonly asked questions, and links to a study guide for those preparing to take the final OSHA 30 exam.
What is OSHA 30?
While the OSHA 10 course is designed to give participants basic training for recognizing and preventing or avoiding dangerous hazards in the workplace, OSHA 30 focuses heavily on the compliance side of safety. Those who are subject-matter experts in safety, such as safety directors, safety managers, or anyone with direct safety responsibility, should sign up for OSHA 30. It tackles workers' safety rights and companies' responsibilities to fulfill those rights.
OSHA 30 is designed to show attendees how to locate and comply with OSHA regulations, a critical skill necessary on the job site. It is also geared toward teaching individuals how to plan and execute a safety program within their company. As you can imagine, setting up a safety program is more of a commitment, so OSHA 30 involves four full days of training, 7.5 hours a day, whereas OSHA 10 only involves two days.
Keep in mind that no matter how quickly participants go through the material, the mandate for the class is 30 hours of learning time. The OSHA 10-hour course covers eight different modules. In contrast, OSHA 30 has 21 total modules.
OSHA-approved trainers teach the OSHA 30 course in various fields, and courses can be completed in construction, general industry, and disaster site safety. The general industry training applies to manufacturing, chemical production, energy production, warehousing, and service industries, but not agriculture, construction, or maritime.
OSHA 30 construction training is geared towards advanced level workers such as construction managers, supervisors, and team leaders. It's the most advanced level of construction training recognized, as it covers over eighty different topics.
Training in the OSHA 30 course will cover many topics and provide participants with information. Examples of what is covered during this training include identifying potential health and safety concerns and pinpointing the causes of these problems, creating a safer, healthier workplace environment, and ensuring your coworkers are taking on the mindset of building a safer work environment. The training series includes tools like an audio narration of each point, interactive exercises, quizzes to culminate each unit, and real-life case studies to highlight important content and put that content into practice.
We’ve taken the liberty of analyzing two different construction training agendas: OSHA 10 and OSHA 30. Here are some topics that are covered during the two additional OSHA 30 training days:
- Asbestos in Construction
- Confined Space Entry
- Excavation Safety
- Fire Protection and Prevention
- Lead in Construction
- Respiratory Protection Plan
- Safety and Health Programs
You’ll notice that these are essential topics, and some companies will schedule OSHA 30 for all workers. However, you’ll also notice the last bullet point covers safety programs, highlighting how the course emphasizes setting up company-wide safety initiatives.
OSHA mandates that the OSHA 30 training course be completed within six months of the class start date and requires a 70 percent minimum score for the course to be considered successfully passed. There is a final exam, and all enrollees have three opportunities to take and pass the exam online. After completing the class and exam, participants receive a plastic wallet card as proof of completion. For many training organizations, those who take OSHA 10 can come back and take an additional 20-hour course to obtain their OSHA 30, as long as it's within six months of their initial OSHA 10 training.
OSHA offers both in-person and online versions of its 30-hour training program. Many people opt for online courses because of their convenience. What's more, the online course is more affordable than the in-person class.
Unlike the in-person course, the online class administers a quiz after each topic, and course participants must get at least seven out of the ten questions correct on each quiz. In keeping with the strict 30+ hour time requirement, users cannot just race through the pages and click on the next one until a set amount of time has passed; they must spend a minimum amount of time on each page.
Unfortunately, some "imposter" courses online are not associated with OSHA. You can discover more about the vendors that offer official OSHA classes and find authorized classes listed in our OSHA 10 article or on OSHA's website. These are the only courses and vendors that OSHA validates.
Mandates and Requirements
OSHA doesn’t mandate passing an OSHA test to obtain employment, nor does it certify anyone as trained. However, their enforced standards often require safety training around the hazards workers face. Therefore, most states, municipalities, companies, and industries mandate OSHA courses—which is the case for some jobs that involve dealing with OSHA-regulated workplace hazards—but OSHA itself does not require workers to complete any training. Some job postings may state that an OSHA 30 card is required for applicants. After completing the course and passing the final exam with a seventy percent or better, participants are given an OSHA card to prove they have satisfactorily completed the class.
There is a requirement for official Department of Labor (DOL) cards at some government and industrial sites, such as oil rigs. These cards are only available through the completion of OSHA-approved courses. Also, in many locations, general contractors, construction managers, and certain members of labor unions are required to have their OSHA 30 card to work on a job site or bid on a project, but this is a requirement of the industry, not the government.
Test Prep and Answer Key
Preparing for OSHA 30 can be tricky, especially if it's been a while since you've been in the classroom. For those who want to get a leg up on understanding the type of questions you’ll find, here is an excellent resource to review.
Commonly Asked Questions
Does OSHA 30 expire?
- The OSHA 30 card issued by the Department of Labor does not expire, but specific recommendations and regulations tend to vary by industry and geographic location. It is recommended that people take continuing education courses or refreshers of the OSHA trainings at any intervals, typically every 5 years.
How long is an OSHA 30 certification good for?
- While an OSHA 30 card does not expire since courses are technically voluntary, many people choose to renew their card and retake the course to stay apprised of the latest safety information. Some states and municipalities have specific training criteria, including detailed requirements on how often to take the OSHA 30 course. Often, companies have their employees retake the course every 3 to 5 years to stay up-to-date with the latest information. As a reminder, OSHA doesn’t certify any OSHA cards.
What jobs can I get with an OSHA 30 card?
- An OSHA 30 card is designed to prepare employees for various safety-related subjects specific to the construction industry. It is meant for supervisors and those workers who have some safety and health responsibilities.
How long does it take to complete OSHA 30 online?
- It takes a total of 30 hours to complete the OSHA 30 course online. Government mandates don't just cover a set standard of content for each OSHA 30 certification course but also the amount of time it should take. This means that those who complete certain required course materials in less than 30 hours will consume more content. The course takes four days (30 hours) to complete, whether online or in person.
How should I put OSHA 30 on a resume?
- The best practice for including an OSHA 30 card on a resume would be to list it with other certifications and achievements. It would fit well in a section with first aid and CPR certifications.
How many questions are on the OSHA 30 final exam?
- The OSHA 30 course exam has 100 questions and requires a minimum score of 70% to pass. Those wishing to gain their OSHA 30 card have as many as three attempts to take and pass the exam.
Keeping You Informed About Safety
To stay as safe as possible at work requires training. Just keep in mind that safety isn't a one-time course or a box to check, it’s an overall culture embraced by all members of an organization, from those at the top to those who make it all happen. Courses like the OSHA 30 training program are essential to establishing a safe and healthy workplace. Still, at MCR Safety, we also know that safety is an ongoing practice that stems from the decisions you make every day. We offer you the tools, personal protective equipment, and resources you need to ensure a safe, healthy job site every day.
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