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OSHA Approved Training?

This article addresses the question "Does OSHA approve training?" It has been a long-standing policy by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Washington, D.C., to not approve, endorse, or certify any training (classroom or online training). Yet, we see today many companies advertising their training as OSHA Approved or OSHA Certified. We believe these companies or organizations know better. We certainly understand competing for market share but it must be done in an ethical, honest manner. Part of the reason why we are writing this article is to inform employers who may not know that OSHA does not approve training.

OSHA Approved Training?

There is an area reserved in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) where OSHA could promulgate a regulation whereby they would approve training or training providers. But in our discussions with OSHA officials, this is not likely to ever take place. Why? We are not certain. However, OSHA holds the employer ultimately responsible for adequately training their employees. Every statute and regulation is written with this consideration in mind. Should OSHA approve training from a company or organization, it may have a legal implication for holding an employer responsible for properly training their employees.

OSHA Approved State Plans

OSHA does approve State Plans for state regulatory agencies to develop and implement their own health and safety programs. Currently, there are 26 approved State Plans that have programs where employers must comply with their respective state regulations and statutes. A good example of a state operated health and safety program is Cal/OSHA. State approved health and safety programs must be at least as stringent as the Federal regulations and statues. Often times states will "rubber stamp" the Federal regulatory version and then begin the enforcement process. But state programs can be more stringent or have additional requirements.

OSHA Interpretation Letters

OSHA also writes interpretation letters providing guidance on various health and safety topics. The OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs in Washington, D.C., is responsible for writing these letters. We received a letter from them accepting the use of our HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator®. This letter is considered by many in the industry as a landmark letter involving hands-on training. Employers can now use the simulator in conjunction with site-specific hands-on training for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to meet the OSHA requirements. Employers must provide site-specific hands-on training using the actual PPE an employee will be using in their job. Generic training on PPE does not fully meet the OSHA regulations. Understandably, the simulator has had a major impact on generic Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) classroom training throughout the nation. Specifically, the number of 40 Hour HAZWOPER training locations have decreased significantly.

OSHA Outreach Training Program

The OSHA Training Institute (OTI) in Arlington Heights, Illinois has an Outreach Training Program that does provide "authorization" to training providers for the OSHA 10 and 30 hour programs in General Industry, Maritime and Construction. There is also a Disaster Site training program. But being an authorized provider is not the same as being approved. Moreover, this authorization does not extend to other regulations e.g., HAZWOPER regulations. This is because the OSHA 10 and 30 programs are voluntary whereas the HAZWOPER regulations found in 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65 were promulgated into regulation.

OSHA OTI

The HAZWOPER regulations went through the formal regulatory process (proposed rule, public comment, then a final rule) as recorded in the Federal Register. The regulations were then codified in Title 29 CFR. Because the OSHA 10 and 30 programs are voluntary, they never went through the formal regulatory process. However, some states have passed statutes and promulgated regulations for the OSHA 10 and 30 training courses.

The following paragraph is from the OSHA website.

It is important to note that this is a voluntary program and does not meet the training requirements for any OSHA standards. Although some states, municipalities or others may require outreach training as a condition of employment, it is not an OSHA requirement. None of the courses within the Outreach Training Program is considered a certification.

Summary

Federal OSHA has not approved, certified nor endorsed any training from any training provider. We hope this article provides some clarity for people who often ask the question to a training provider - "Is your training OSHA approved?" The obvious answer is no. 

Should you have any questions, please contact us at 888.877.7130. Or, your best option is to visit www.osha.gov. But you can always call the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs in Washington, D.C., at 202.693.2190.

 

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