Workplace safety training is more than just fulfilling a legal obligation. Providing your employees with safety training gives them the knowledge and skills necessary to protect each other, their equipment and facilities. Most importantly, safety training prevents workplace injuries.

OSHA Fines

As an additional incentive to employers, providing workplace training can mitigate the expenses associated with an injury – such as fines and insurance rates, lost man-hours and loss of production. OSHA has increased the fines that will be levied against companies for safety violations. The maximum penalty for Serious and Other than Serious Violations is now $12,600, up from $7,000 before 2016. Willful and Repeat Violations have increased from $70,000 before 2016 to now $126,000.

Safety Planning & Training from Day 1

Employers have a responsibility under the law to provide an environment that is as safe as possible for employees and visitors. A detailed risk assessment of all work areas and processes is necessary, and all findings should be recorded. As an employer, you must address any significant risks identified during the assessment with plans designed to reduce these risks. You must record these measures and communicate them to employees, so they are aware of both the risks and the procedures for safer work.

It is important to include a safety orientation for new hires. In this way, you are bringing to their attention from their first day that safety is an important part of your company’s culture. A simple checklist should be used as the new employee is shown through the workplace to discuss site evacuation procedures, risks associated with the employee’s working environment and duties, fire precautions, accident and near-miss reporting procedures, personal protective equipment that may be required for their job, and any safety programs carried out by the employer.

Each industry and company will have their own, personalized list of safety items that new employees should be made aware of on their first day. A health and safety checklist should be compiled with particular job responsibilities in mind. It is important that new employees review this information and sign the document to acknowledge they understand the safety guidelines provided. Employers are responsible for training their workers on specific hazards of their job, as noted in many OSHA standards.

Continue Safety Training

After introductory training, hazard recognition training should be provided for all employees. This training consists of 10 and 30-hour courses which cover important OSHA regulations and hazard identification techniques for the construction or general industry.

The 10-hour training program is for entry-level workers. All outreach training covers an overview of the hazards a worker may encounter on a job site. Training emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention, not OSHA standards. Classes also provide an overview of workers’ rights and employer responsibilities. There is a 30-hour training program for supervisors intended to provide a greater depth and variety of information. OSHA training classes are hands-on and can be tailored to the specific needs of an industry or company.

While these courses are voluntary, OSHA recommends outreach courses as an orientation to occupational safety and health for workers. Some States, employers, unions, organizations or other jurisdictions require this training as they have seen the value of continued safety training in reducing injury and deaths in the workplace.

Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back repeatedly in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more. It is a good idea to keep a record of all safety and health training. Documentation can also supply an answer to one of the first questions an incident investigator will ask: “Did the employee receive adequate training to do the job?”

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