share to facebook    share to twitter    share to linkedin

Should I Attend OSHA 30 Hr Training?

Friday, March 15, 2019

When you are instructed to take the OSHA 30-hour online course, your initial reaction may be less than excited.    Such thoughts as “I’m never going to use this?” or “I’d rather have some dental work performed” come to mind.  But after sitting down and taking the course, I do see the merits of taking the course.

The reoccurring statement that I’ve heard most people say when asked about the content of the course is “It’s basically mostly all common-sense things.”

People do unintelligent things daily in every type of workplace setting, ranging from construction sites to the manufacturing setting.  It can be because they might not know the proper safe way to do a task or perhaps they have become careless after performing the same work task for years.  The resulting workplace accident still will occur.

For an example, let’s look at this picture from a safety standpoint.

Some positive things:

  • The saw operator is wearing ear protection
  • Protective blade guards appear to be on both saws in the picture
  • The workers are wearing work boots

Some negative things:

  • Neither of the workers are wearing hard hats nor safety glasses
  • The board being cut is not properly secured for the cutting operation.  Perhaps on sawhorses with clamps.  In case you did not know, using the man as a saw horse is not an acceptable method.

Most situations aren’t as clear cut or exaggerated as this example and accidents can be typically be avoided with some training.  Also, we become experienced in our various fields, we all face the challenge of not becoming complacent in our work tasks after performing them perhaps hundreds (or thousands) of times. 

 Accidents can happen in any workplace setting.  Here are a few examples demonstrating this:

  • A laborer on a construction site who decided that they don’t need to tie off properly today when they need to remove a very small section of a masonry parapet wall on a roof of a two-story building.   The worker might be thinking that they only have a few minutes of work and I haven’t ever had an incident, so they made the regrettable decision to not put on the body harness and lanyard.  Today ends up being the day when the worker needed the fall protection but didn’t have it.   They have several emergency surgeries and months of physical therapy after both of their legs in the fall.

  • A Cad technician is trying to plot out several sets of plans for a deadline when the plotter is out of paper.  They go to change the paper roll on the plotter as they have done hundreds of times before.  A stack of copy paper boxes happens to be in the way and so they just reach over the boxes to lift the roll of paper instead of moving the boxes out of the way.  They are lifting in an awkward angle and feel a twinge of pain in their lower back. 

  • An experienced Civil Engineer is examining a larger storm sewer structure on a project.  There are some drainage issues in one area of the site and the topographic survey does not show the elevation of the existing pipe entering the structure.  There is a callout that states “could not obtain invert”.  The engineer knows that a pipe connects to this structure but can not see it by looking down through the manhole opening. They have had confined space training and know the procedures for properly entering a storm manhole structure.But today they are in hurry and decide that it should be ok if I just climb down just a few rungs to see the far side of the structure.“It’s a new structure and I’ll only be in there for like 20 seconds just long enough to verify that the pipe connects to the structure and what size it is.”, the engineer tells themselves for reassurance.But the visual inspection didn’t reveal that there is an oxygen deficiency in the structure and that the manhole ladder rungs were not installed properly.So, our engineer has a double dose of bad luck today.The ladder rung gives out and they fall to the bottom of the structure spraining their knee and then die after their heart stops from lack of oxygen.

The OSHA 30-hour course can be taken in a classroom setting or online.   The online version is a good way to fit the course into our busy professional schedules.  It enables you to complete it on your schedule maybe just doing a section or two during lunch. 

The benefits of OSHA 30-hour training are that it teaches workers how to:

  • Identify potential safely hazards
  • Reduce these hazards through proper handling of equipment. Proper arrangement of the workplace, or wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Eliminate workplace hazards in the future
  • Report hazards to managers to create a safer work environment

In conclusion, I do feel that taking the OSHA 30-hour course has a positive impact on workplace safety.   Reviewing workplace safety in depth, for extreme topics such as hazardous waste handling to simple topics such as proper lifting techniques, brings workplace safety to the forefront of our minds and help to reduce workplace accidents.

Thomas J. Green, PE PLS