How to Get Your OSHA 500 Certification
For many individuals who work in the construction industry and have a strong understanding of construction safety and industry standards, obtaining OSHA 500 certification is a logical step in their advancing career path. This special certification enables those who have it to serve as a trainer through OSHA’s outreach education program and educate others on construction safety via OSHA’s 10 and 30 hour structured safety courses.
Some are motivated to become trainers by a desire to conduct safety training for their own employees, and others are interested in the outreach training certification because it is often required for advanced positions in the construction field.
In either case, certain steps need to be taken to hold a valid OSHA 500 certification; they include meeting all program requirements, finding an education center, taking the OSHA 500 course, and passing the written exam on completion of the course.
1. Obtain All Prerequisites
The first step in achieving OSHA 500 certification is making sure you meet both of the primary program requirements.
Each student must have a working knowledge of industry specific safety standards and guidelines that spans a minimum of five years. In the event that an individual has achieved a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health or currently holds credentials as a Certified Industrial Hygienist or Safety Professional, the job history requirement can be reduced to three years.
The second requirement is the completion of an OSHA 510 class which provides a deeper understanding of the health standards and construction safety regulations set forth by OSHA.
Students cannot be excused from meeting both the experience prerequisite and training requirement before seeking their certification. A lengthy work history will not be considered in place of the required training. However, students who believe they have taken a course with comparable curriculum to the OSHA 510 may be able to use their prior training to fulfill the requirements.
2. Select an OSHA Education Center
OSHA training has been in consistent demand for several decades, and the OSHA Training Institute has recognized the need for a wider reaching outreach program by collaborating with certain institutions and allowing them to provide OSHA certification training.
These training centers are located throughout the United States, and there is a minimum of one training institution per each identified OSHA region in North America. OSHA provides a list of these recognized centers by region on their website (http://www.osha.gov/dte/edcenters/current_list.html).
Once an official OSHA training education center has been chosen, students can obtain course information, schedules and tuition information from each center’s website.
3. Complete the OSHA 500 Course and Written Exam
The next step in OSHA 500 certification is to fulfill the requirements of the OSHA 500 course and pass the written exam given at the conclusion of the class.
Students who have completed the course will have an extensive knowledge of OSHA standards as they relate to the construction industry. They will also leave with an understanding of the training methods used to educate others in the course material determined by OSHA.
Once a student has completed the course and passed their written exam, they will receive their OSHA 500 certification, allowing them to act as an official OSHA trainer and conduct their own basic 10 and 30 hour OSHA recognized construction safety classes.
The Best Places to Get OSHA 500 Training
OSHA 500 training is intended as a means to continue the success of OSHA’s outreach program throughout the United States. The strategy incorporates a “train the trainer” type approach, and those who complete OSHA 500 training are then qualified to conduct their own safety and health training courses for the construction industry.
Because these trainers are a big piece of OSHA’s continuing outreach, training courses like the OSHA 500 are only offered at Education Centers approved by the OSHA Training Institute (OTI). With at least one training center located in every OSHA region, they are sprinkled throughout the country for easy access in any area.
Top 5 Featured OSHA 500 Training Sites
Each OTI Education Center is deemed worthy of training by OSHA, but occasionally OTI training sites are featured on OSHA’s website to recognize some aspect of their exceptional training. The following training centers are currently featured as some of the best places to obtain OSHA training.
1. Great Lakes Regional OTI Education Center
The Great Lakes Regional OTI Education Center is actually a collection of four distinct providers of OSHA training, including the University of Minnesota, the University of Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan University, and the UAW Health and Safety Department. Together, these organizations conduct the OSHA training for Region 5 which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Overall, the training offered by the Great Lakes Regional Center is recognized for having stellar content and for being an excellent place to pursue any one of the number of occupational health and safety related programs available there.
2. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
RIT was established as a university in 1829 and has since remained in the top ten of the largest private undergraduate schools in the nation.
Originally chosen for its dedication to providing degrees for occupational safety and health professionals in 2002, the university has been conducting OSHA 500 training ever since as the OTI Education Center for Puerto Rico, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands.
3. Rocky Mountain Education Center (RMEC)
One of the first OTI Education Centers named, the Rocky Mountain Education Center has been serving Region 8 since 1992. RMEC is actually located within the campus of Red Rocks Community College and provides training for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
Students can choose from any OTI course at the Rocky Mountain Education Center, and they can also achieve specialist certifications in five distinct fields, including construction, at this site as well.
4. TEEX – Southwest Education Center
TEEX is the Education Center responsible for OSHA training in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, also known as Region 6, and it is actually a component of Texas A&M.
This southwest center is committed to providing quality OSHA training, which includes construction safety and trainer courses, and also offers a number of additional health and safety programs for interested students, including a degree in Environmental Safety and Health and a Certified Safety and Health Official Program.
5. University of California, San Diego
Serving Region 4, the University of California at San Diego has been the center of OSHA training for Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada since 1992 and was one of the four Education Centers originally named by OSHA.
In addition to offering OSHA 500 training, this university also delivers on site training to large corporations and organizations like Exxon Mobile and even various divisions of the US military. They are widely known as advocates of OSHA’s mission for employee safety, and their health and safety programs are equally recognized as some of the foremost programs in the United States.
Misconceptions of OSHA Training – Including Myths about OSHA 500 Online
Since the realization of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers in the United States have become quite familiar with OSHA, and employers have come to better understand their responsibility in providing a safe work environment for their employees. However, an increase in OSHA’s exposure and the popularity of some of their training programs has led to some confusion surrounding their outreach program and courses like OSHA 500 online.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about OSHA Training:
Myth: It is not possible to find a program that offers OSHA construction safety courses online.
Many students believe that universities, training facilities or private third parties offering OSHA training online are not actually officially recognized by OSHA. However, those interested in taking official OSHA construction safety courses (and others) may be surprised to learn that OSHA’s online Outreach Training Program is official and making it very easy for those seeking training to find it conveniently online.
In recent years, OSHA has definitely sought to increase the number of professionals with access to their training programs, and this initiative has been successful mostly due to OSHA’s inclusion of authorized online training. In fact, OSHA has been able to multiply the number of workers reached by training by more than five times over the last five years alone as they have developed their online campaigns.
OSHA has officially named a list of organizations certified to offer OSHA training online, making it much easier and incredibly convenient for professionals in any area to access OSHA training.
Myth: Students may receive training and certification for the OSHA 500 online.
Although OSHA has in fact expanded their training via online organizations and educators, this is not inclusive of every OSHA training course. Primarily, online training is mostly limited to OSHA’s outreach training, which educates professionals on handling hazards in the workplace and employee rights.
These 10 and 30 hour course offerings do not currently include the “train the trainer” certifications also offered by OSHA. As such, it is not possible at this time to achieve recognition for completing the OSHA 500 online through the available outreach training.
OSHA has named a small selection of courses, offered through OSHA recognized Training Institute Education Centers, as suitable in an online format; although, they also do not include the trainer certification classes. These course offerings do, however, include course #510 (Occupational and Health Standards for Construction), which is a prerequisite for the OSHA 500 certification.
Myth: Students can obtain OSHA 500 training from any university or training facility.
OSHA’s popular “train the trainer” courses like OSHA 500, a trainer program in health and safety standards for the construction industry, are only available through Education Centers that have been accredited by the OSHA Training Institute (OTI).
OSHA’s collection of recognized education centers are typically chosen by way of an application process, held periodically to integrate new training facilities into the available list of OTI approved institutions currently found nationwide.
OSHA has named at least one official Education Center in each of their training regions, and students interested in finding a site can visit the OTI’s page on the OSHA website and view a list of training locations by region or use a searchable schedule to find all available course offerings nationwide.
Myth: OSHA education centers that offer occupational safety training courses are financed by OSHA.
Despite the fact that each OTI Education Center is chosen by OSHA, individual training sites offering OSHA courses are not in any way funded by OSHA. As such, any Education Center is permitted to conduct training in line with their own standards concerning course instructors and precise location of the course.
Additionally, tuition and fees are left in the hands of each distinct Education Center as well, and OSHA has authorized each site to charge a processing fee for the cards given on completion of the “train the trainer” courses if they deem it appropriate.
Although OTI approved Education Centers can for the most part present courses as they see fit, for popular training courses like OSHA 500, online options are still not available.
Basics of the OSHA 500 Course
In the United States, employees working in construction are likely to be quite familiar with OSHA and the significance of the OSHA 500 course. Those less familiar with industry standards may not be completely clear on the connection between the two and the primary reason for the collaboration between the construction industry and OSHA. To gain a better understanding, one should know a bit about the industry as a whole.
The Connection between OSHA and Construction
In terms of occupational injuries and fatalities, the construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. Although threats to safety are largely identified across the board, the dynamic nature of the construction environment makes it very difficult to control the exposure of workers to high risk conditions.
In the United States, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, has attempted to address not only the dangers inherent in the construction industry but also the safety of employees in any industry with the development of workplace standards. OSHA also provides general and industry specific education and outreach programs.
For the construction industry, OSHA has developed 10 and 30 hour construction safety courses as well as a program for those interested in becoming authorized to teach these safety classes, called the OSHA 500.
What does the OSHA 500 Cover?
Because the OSHA 500 course is intended to prepare trainers to teach the basic 10 and 30 hour construction safety classes, much of the curriculum focuses on their content. Students are asked to gain a deeper understanding of the most serious threats to worker safety and the process of addressing those safety concerns with OSHA industry standards. They are also given instruction on effective ways to teach the 10 and 30 hour classes using specific course materials.
Once the course is completed and students have passed an exit written exam, they become officially authorized to participate in OSHA’s outreach program. They are qualified to train and present completion cards to other students who complete the basic construction safety classes under their direction.
Prerequisites and Recertification
To participate in the OSHA 500 program, students must first meet two distinct prerequisites. The first requires that any student have experience in construction safety of at least five years. This requirement may be reduced to three years if the student has earned an occupational safety and health degree from a University or has been recognized as a Certified Safety Professional or Industrial Hygienist.
The second prerequisite requires that each student take the OSHA 510 course which educates students on OSHA health standards and the guidelines in place specific to construction industry safety.
Trainers authorized in the construction outreach program will be required to receive recertification every four years. To accomplish this, they must take the OSHA 502 course, which is designed specifically to help trainers review and update themselves on industry standards. If this course is not taken prior to the end of any trainer’s authorized period of four years, they will be required to take the OSHA 500 course again.