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States Mandate Osha Course

Aiming to reduce the number of job-site injuries and fatalities, seven states now have laws that require workers to complete the OSHA 10-hour construction

Aiming to reduce the number of job-site injuries and fatalities, seven states now have laws that require workers to complete the OSHA 10-hour construction safety training course before employment on certain projects. Currently, an OSHA law is in effect in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and most recently, Missouri. Nevada's OSHA training law becomes effective January 2010.

While all seven state laws require the same 10-hour training class, slight differences exist from state to state, explains Curtis Chambers, vice president of OSHA Pro's, Inc., an OSHA training company with national coverage. Most of the state laws restrict the required training to workers on publicly funded construction sites, such as those for public roads, bridge projects, and public school buildings. By contrast, Nevada will require all construction workers to complete the course.

The state laws also vary on classifications of workers subject to the training requirement. A particular state law may mandate that all laborers and supervisors complete the class, whereas another state law may require the class just for laborers, Chambers notes. Also, varying thresholds have been introduced for the dollar amounts of contracts that dictate when the states' laws become effective.

However, each of the state laws contains a provision stipulating that failure to comply with the rule can result in fines and penalties, typically assessed to the employer of noncompliant workers, he warns. So, affected workers are required to obtain the OSHA 10-hour construction training wallet card to prove they completed the course.

The 10-hour outreach training course was developed by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration as a voluntary safety course to teach workers about construction work-site hazards and applicable regulations. The class can be conducted by instructors authorized by OSHA to provide the training and issue OSHA cards. Some large companies have an authorized OSHA trainer on staff. Additionally, private safety consultants and companies offer the training (for a fee) to companies or groups needing the course. OSHA also has authorized online training, allowing a worker to complete the required class via the Internet and receive a wallet card by mail.