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.