Industrial safety is highly important. Over the last 9 years I have seen several near misses, been involved in one serious on the job injury, that could very well have become a fatality, and heard hundreds of stories of how others have been injured or killed in our line of work (nuclear plant maintenance). All of this despite being in a culture which is heavily focused on safety. Beyond the safety regulations of our employers and the plants we work at, OSHA has basic rules and regulations that employers and employees must be aware of and follow. OSHA, or The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a government entity under the department of labor with a main purpose of reducing injuries and fatalities in the workplace.
What is the OSHA 30 Course?
The OSHA 30 is a 30 hour classroom course designed to give a wide overview of safety guidelines that need to be followed at all work sites. This course can be taken online and there are several approved vendors that offer the training. An OSHA 30 certificate does not expire, however some states require people to retake it every 5 years. For workers who do not desire to become safety representatives or supervisors, the OSHA 10 is a good course to take. This course is a 10 hour course that doesn’t go into nearly as much detail as the OSHA 30. THE OSHA 10 still provides a ton of useful information that can be used to keep yourself and others out of harms way. Some employers require the OSHA 10 to work for them. Having the OSHA 10 already can give you a leg up over other applicants.
Topics in the OSHA 30 range from ladder and scaffold safety to the use of explosives. A good chunk of the topics covered I may never see, but it is good to have a basic understanding of what isn’t right on these types of jobs. Most of the topics covered require more training for those who will actually use the equipment, such as respirators or confined space. OSHA requires that employers provide training to employees for such jobs.
One of the key features of the OSHA 30 course is discussion of case studies that resulted in severe injury or death. Virtually every segment has a true story describing what went wrong and how these tragedies could have been prevented by following safety regulations. While the overall material can get boring at times, these case studies re-enforce the reason for the training and the shear importance of being competent is recognizing and mitigating risks in the workplace.
The Course has 23 modules which all have a 10 question quiz at the end. When all the modules are complete and 30 hours of time has gone by, then you can take a 20 question test over all of the material. As long as you actually read through the material the test shouldn’t be a problem. The course offers 3 attempts to pass with a 70% or better grade. One of the aspects I didn’t like about both the quiz and test applications was that you can’t review your answers. Every time you answer a question and hit the next button that question is graded. I greatly prefer to be able to answer all the questions then go through and review my answers before submitting for a grade. Thankfully I was able to pass the OSHA 30 test on my first attempt.
Why I Took The OSHA 30 Course Online
As part of my career development I took the OSHA 30 safety training in March to set myself up to work as a safety representative in the future. I have a few friends who have moved on to working in safety that have found the work to be stimulating and the pay to be better than what many of the technician jobs we typically work are. My project manager had also mentioned down the road there may be a chance for me to become a staff member for our company, which usually uses the staff guys from the ice project as safety reps on other jobs. I wanted to be sure I did everything to put myself in a position to get this opportunity, so I took the OSHA 30 immediately because most safety rep jobs require the OSHA 30. Since I was working full time taking the OSHA 30 course online was my best option.
OSHA 30 Course Online Cost
The total cost for the OSHA 30 was $170 for the class, plus around 40 hours of my time. Although the course is only supposed to take 30 hours, there is an introduction that isn’t part of the time and the time keeping software messed up a couple times and deleted my progress. I completed the OSHA 30 during a 40 hour work week (plus one weekend) to be prepared to jump on an opportunity to become a safety representative if one came up this season.
Where To Take The OSHA 30
The OSHA 30 is offered by several providers online. OSHA provides a list of their authorized outreach internet courses here. I took mine through 360training.com. Online only courses are around $170, but if you choose you could take courses led by an actual instructor. In the past my community college offered the OSHA 30 for around $500. While looking at the OSHA website the cheapest instructor with prices listed offers the OSHA 30 for $800. Since there is no difference in the qual card received I think it is a no brainer to go with the online training. Most of the providers of the OSHA 30 class will also teach the OSHA 10. 360training.com has the OSHA 10 course for $80.
One thing that is frustrating about taking this course online is that although I was able to print off a qual card immediately after passing, the official wallet sized card from OSHA takes a long time to arrive, in fact I still have not received it despite taking the course in March. When they say 6 – 8 weeks, they aren’t kidding! (Update 6/1/2015 I received my qual card in the mail today!)
Further education is a great way to increase your marketability and thus your long term earnings. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in 2011 and since then I have done little to enhance my training to move forward. In addition to taking the OSHA 30 to make myself a good candidate for safety representative jobs, I also plan on taking the CAPM exam (Certified Associate In Project Management) within the next year to move closer on my journey to becoming a project manager.
Have you recently taken any professional development courses? What has your experience been like?