People who work in the construction industry are the backbone of cities and towns. They build, repair, remodel, and renovate the structures that make thriving business hubs and vibrant neighborhoods. It is a vital trade – and a dangerous one.
Consistently ranked as one of the most hazardous industries, construction is inherently, a risky profession. But there is much that employers can – and should – do to ensure their people are as safe as possible on the job.
Why should you work for an OSHA-certified business? Because they are looking out for you.
What Is “OSHA Certified”?
First, let’s clear up a common misconception. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, does not certify businesses. Rather, they provide training opportunities to workers. Employees receive the education and know-how they need to stay safe on the job (and help others do the same) – and employers ensure they are meeting OSHA standards by having properly trained people on the job.
So, while a prospective employer may not be “OSHA certified,” they should offer you the chance to participate in relevant training for your role and for the construction industry as a whole. In fact, they are required to. As OSHA states, “Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. No person should ever have to be injured, become ill, or die for a paycheck.”
OSHA’s mission is to ensure the protection of workers and prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Many OSHA standards, which have prevented countless workplace tragedies, include explicit safety and health training requirements to ensure that workers have the required skills and knowledge to safely do their work.
Since OSHA was created, employee injuries and illnesses have fallen from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers (1972) to 2.7 per 100 in 2020. In 1970, there was an average of 38 worker deaths a day in the US. Fifty years later, it is 13. While this, of course, is still too high, there is no doubt that OSHA works. And you want to work for a business that complies and prioritizes safety!
Employers Are Responsible
Whether your job involves working at height and on scaffolding, in confined spaces, with hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos), in excessively loud conditions, etc., it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that you have the right training and skills to minimize your risk of injury, illness, or even death.
Now, there are some businesses that are exempt from the OSH Act. For example, companies that employ ten or fewer employees typically do not have to comply with all OSHA standards, and businesses in “low risk” industries usually do not have to either. We are certainly not in a low risk industry!
Even if your employer does not strictly have to comply with OSHA standards, it is important to seek out a workplace that treats safety as the top priority. By offering you training and education based on your industry and your specific role, they are helping do their part to provide a safe and healthful workplace.
It is also your employer’s responsibility to pay for this training and to provide you with the time it takes to complete it.
How to Become OSHA Certified
As mentioned, businesses are not “OSHA certified,” per se. Instead (unless exempt), they are responsible for providing you with the right training and education, as well as providing the tools necessary (e.g. PPE) for a safe workplace. They should offer you the chance to attend trainings in-person and/or online to ensure they are meeting requirements.
There are a variety of OSHA trainings for general industry and for the construction industry in particular. It is up to them to determine which is appropriate and necessary for you. For example, if your job involves working on scaffolding or with hazardous materials, there are OSHA courses that you need to complete. You can also take OSHA 10-Hour and OSHA-30 Hour courses to stay safe on the job – and give yourself an advantage when it comes to employment. Completing these courses makes you a highly marketable and desirable job candidate.
Another route to becoming OSHA certified starts with Labor for Hire. When you are seeking temporary employment to build your resume, cover seasonal gaps in income, and/or build new skills and experience, we offer all the requisite OSHA training you will need. Again, this makes you a prime candidate for top companies while ensuring you have the knowledge and skills needed for a job in the construction industry.
Interested in jumpstarting your career? Contact our team to discuss OSHA training and your employment options. We can team you with a reputable company that cares about your health and safety – and that will give you a terrific experience in the field.