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Training Requirements and Workplace Safety

Safety in the workplace requires a systematic commitment from all concerned.

To be sure, employers must do their part. But so must workers - not only employees, but contractors as well. And of course government has an important role to play in overseeing the entire safety-compliance process.

In this two-part post, we will discuss the basic framework for training requirements and guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Some of the training standards issued by OSHA are general in nature. Employers are generally responsible for providing employees with training on health and safety issues that can arise in their jobs.

But in order to make that responsibility meaningful in particular industries and occupations, there are also numerous regulations that establish more specific OSHA training standards.

Obviously there is a big difference in safety risk between the job of a receptionist sitting at the front desk and a construction worker perched on a high-rise scaffold.

This is why one of the OSHA standards calls for employers to use their discretion to limit access to more-dangerous jobs to those employees who have been certified or otherwise designated as qualified following appropriate training.

This training may have occurred in the workplace or before an employee was hired. The point is to ensure that someone who is being asked to do a dangerous job has the necessary training to do so safely.

In part two of this post, we will continue this discussion by taking note of some specific safety situations, such as the handling of hazardous materials.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines," Accessed March 28, 2014

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