What is OSHA Compliance? - A complete guide

Learn about how OSHA compliance can help employers in the restaurant business. Find insights on Occupational Safety and Health Administration and OSHA guidelines.


OSHA guidelines for Restaurants

As an employer it is your responsibility to provide your workers a safe and healthy environment at the workplace. OSHA guidelines can help you achieve your goal of a safe workplace. 

As a franchisor you must make sure that all your franchisees and partner agencies follow the guidelines too. This is important also to establish your brand as one “that cares for its employees”.

The (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) OSHA guidelines are a framework that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are four groups of OSHA standards: 

  • General Industry
  • Construction
  • Maritime
  • Agriculture

(General Industry covers the largest number of workers and worksites).

In this guide we will discuss OSHA guidelines applicable to restaurants, hotels, pubs and food delivery. The most common injury in restaurants is cuts, bruises and burns, sprains, and strains. 

The hazards are fire, food contamination, lack of ventilation etc. A safe place to work is one where all the possible hazards are eliminated. The OSHA guidelines work as a proactive way of eliminating these hazards.

Objective of OSHA guidelines: 

The main goal of these guidelines is to prevent debilitating workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. These events can cause workers severe suffering as well as financial hardships for themselves, their families, or employers alike. Adapting these guidelines leads to:

  • Improved team morale
  • Employee retention
  • Improved process and product
  • Satisfied customers

How to implement OSHA guidelines?

The OSHA guidelines comprise the seven core elements of Safety and Health Management. Each of these guidelines describe a core program element followed by action items. 

The individual action items describe steps that employers and workers should take to establish, implement, maintain, and improve workplace safety and health programs.

Every core element and action item can be implemented in multiple ways depending on unique business circumstances. The guidelines facilitate the evolution of the safety and health program overtime. 

Injuries and illnesses are an indispensable part of the workplace setting. These guidelines describe a preventive approach such that it can be implemented across all sectors both for small and large organizations alike. 

Small can best implement the actions outlined in these guidelines through informal communications and procedures. 

These guideline recommendations can be adapted to the particular needs and resources of any workplace. The implementation is deemed to differ from one workplace to another as every workplace has its own unique circumstances. 

Many action items in these guidelines are dependent on inputs from workers and their supervisors. 

Management Leadership 

The top management of an organization needs to commit itself to persistently improve safety and health at the workplace. The same needs to be communicated to their workforce. The leadership also needs to set program expectations and responsibilities for all levels of management. 

Action points for the management: 
  1. Policy framework: A written policy is the first step towards ensuring safety and health for your employees. Clear communication of the policies helps foster trust between the employer and the employees. Employees feel more secure and valued. The key here is reiterating the policy and communicating it to the key stakeholders. 

  2. Goal setting: Management should establish specific goals and objectives to improve workplace safety. These actions help the workers to better understand the safety program goals and what is expected of them.

  3. Proper allocation of resources: The planning and budgeting process should be an integral part of safety, health, and well-being. Integrating these three aspects at the planning stage is an efficient way to allocate budgets for sustainable practices.

  4. Lead by example: The management needs to ensure that employees are aware and trained to follow safety and health standards. However, they should lead by example by following these guidelines themselves, ensuring that an open environment exists.  Employees should feel confident in communicating with the management about any potential problems or concerns related to their work environment.

For example: In January 2020, Starbucks launched an initiative to assist its employees deal with anxiety, stress and mental health issues. The global coffee giant also announced that it will be redesigning its employee assistance program based on the feedback it has received from its employees and mental health experts. It also plans to roll out training programs on how to support workers with anxiety and mental health issues for its store managers in the USA and Canada.

By doing so, Starbucks set an example to its employees that their protection from any kind of hazard at the workplace is important to them.

Worker Participation

Workers also need to be made accountable for their work environment. They should report any violations they see on site such as unsafe working conditions or improper use/storage of materials that could harm people's health and well-being; tracking progress to make sure everything stays within regulation guidelines.

Action points for the workers:
  1. Encourage reporting: Why look for problems when you can ask the people who are closest to them? Restaurant employees have valuable insight into safety and health issues, such as emerging workplace hazards or unsafe conditions.

    By encouraging reporting of all potential concerns and following up promptly on reports from employees, employers can address any issue before someone gets hurt or becomes ill. For example: If there is a need for better ventilation, or anti-skid floor mats, the employee working is in a better position to report it.
  • Restaurant staff should have a process in place to report any incidents.
  • The staff should be given enough authority to stop and report a potential hazardous activity.
  • Take corrective action based on the information they provide. Assure them that their feedback matters to you and the same will not be used against them.
  1. Encourage participation: By encouraging workers to participate in the safety and health program, management signals that employees participation matters. An open-work culture where employees can talk with managers about safety and health problems at work, fosters a culture of collaboration within the company.

For example: In May 2020, five employees of a McDonald’s outlet in Chicago raised a complaint for shortage of hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. This brought into notice the lapses that were happening in safety regulations post covid. Full report here. 

Hazard identification and assessment

Periodic assessments to identify hazards are important. This is one of the most important elements of an effective safety program. Failure to do so may lead to the safety not working at all. Regular hazard assessments lead to opportunities for improvements in the safety program.

Action Points:
  1. Collate data of the existing worksite: Collate data from the records maintained for day to day activities. Few examples:
  • Service records of appliances like oven and water-purifier 
  • Time and material sheet used by house-keeping staff in daily cleaning.
  1. Inspection of work site: Regular inspection helps in identifying potential hazards such as worn equipment or tools in need of maintenance, neglected housekeeping practices etc. Identifying and fixing these can help avoid accidents and mishaps.

  2. Investigating an incident: The purpose of an investigation is to identify the root cause and fix it so that such incidents do not occur again. 

Hazard Prevention and control

Employers and workers collaborate to identify and choose options for eliminating, preventing, or controlling any potential workplace hazards. They then develop a plan to ensure that controls are implemented, interim protection is provided, progress is tracked, and the effectiveness of controls is verified.

Action points: 

  1. Identify control options: There are many ways to control the hazards that await you.  For example: what options do you have to prevent food contamination.

  2. Selection of controls: Once you have identified the available options to control a potential  hazard, analyze what control measures are your competitors exercising to mitigate them. Choose one or a combination of control measures feasible for you.

  3. Develop a plan: An effective plan should address high risk factors, but interim controls are necessary for other less significant hazards over time until they can all be addressed fully through long term measures. Track progress on a regular basis and continue to do periodic checks so that everything stays in order. 

Example: Many problems come to the fore along the way, when actually performing a certain task. Even though raising this with the employer may initially generate a level of friction, at times collaboration is the only way to find a solution.

The employer while getting the kitchen installed may have got carried away by the latest design trends and say opted for open shelving for storing heavy crockey.

Though it may be a good idea to implement in a home kitchen, the same thing may raise several threats in a commercial kitchen given the frenzy, rush and number of people working at a given point in time.

However, the practical hazards may come to the forefront only once the kitchen is fully functional. These issues can be addressed only when the employer and workers collaborate.

Education and training

All workers should be trained to understand how the program works. They should be educated on how to carry out the responsibilities assigned to them. Workers should be trained in a manner such that they are able to recognize workplace hazards and are cognizant of the control measures that have been implemented.

Example: In 2015 “Chipotle” made some significant changes in its employee benefits and safety policy. Since then, it has had a consistent ranking as one of the best places to work. Infact, a user on Quora once wrote, "As far as benefits, Chipotle is really solid. They offer health, dental, and vision via Blue Care network, discounted degree programs via Guild education, college credit for your training, and like $5,000 dollars of college tuition reimbursement per year if you're willing to make an 18 month commitment to it."

“Chipotle” goes to great lengths to look after their employees and invests in their training and development. 

Another fast food chain “In-N-Out Burger” has a strong focus on on-the-job training, opportunities for advancement, people-focused leaders, and a friendly environment.

Actions points: 
  1. Educate the workers and managers with the basics of the program’s structure, plans, and procedures. This ensures that everyone can fully participate in program development and implementation to create an effective shift in workplace culture.

  2. Trainers should work towards ensuring that all workers understand their specific role and ways in which they can incorporate these responsibilities in their daily routine.

Program evaluation and Improvement

Regular evaluation of control measures is imperative for them to be effective. A process should be established to monitor program performance, verify implementation, identify deficiencies and areas for improvement. Necessary action should be taken based on the analysis to improve the program and overall safety and health conditions.

  1. Monitoring: It is important to know what parameters to measure and how to perform analysis. Determine appropriate metrics for each parameter, collect the necessary information. Establish an analysis process before gathering and monitoring data. Hire professional help if necessary.

  2. Evaluation: Evaluate the safety program annually to ensure that it is operating as intended, reducing hazards effectively, and driving progress towards their established goals. Evaluation also needs to be done if there is any change in the existing process.

  3. Improvement: Business and processes evolve with time. It is imperative that your safety program also evolves to meet the changing needs of your business.

Example:  “Five Guys” has been nominated as one of the best fast-food chains when it comes to “best places to work”.  The group conducts regular audits of its stores, led by independent examiners. These examiners rate them on quality of service, safety, and cleanliness. 1.5% of the gross revenue of Five Guys' nationwide franchises is redistributed every week to workers who have scored well in the audit. Each crew gets a total of $1,000 when an audit is successfully completed.

Coordination and communication in a multiemployer environment

The host employer and contract employers should coordinate on work planning and scheduling. This will help identify and resolve any conflicts that could impact safety or health. Workers from both the host and contract employer should be informed about the hazards present at the worksite and the hazards that work of the contract employer may create on site.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and live. OSHA is committed in its endeavour to protect the health of America’s workers and workplaces. To deal with this unusual situation they have come up with these additional guidelines for restaurants:

  • Discourage workers to report at work if they are sick. 
  • Follow occupancy restrictions as advised by state and local authorities. 
  • All restaurant staff should wear face masks and shields at all times. 
  • More frequent disinfection and cleaning of high traffic surfaces like table top, door knobs, chairs, faucets and sinks, countertops, touchpads, walkways etc., POS equipment, switchboards etc. 
  • Dishes, utensils, and beverage equipment to be washed and sanitized after every single use. 
  • Maintain a minimum of 6-feet between co-workers and customers. Avoid hand contact, when possible. 
  • Collect contactless orders and payments. 
  • Any safety and health concerns should be immediately reported to the supervisor. 

Having understood how guidelines can help you create a safe and healthy workplace, let us now move on to understand what it means to be OSHA compliant and how do you become OSHA compliant. 

What does it mean to be OSHA Compliant?

The United States has a federal agency OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) which is responsible for issuing and enforcing workplace health and safety standards to protect workers. 

OSHA was formed in 1971. The agency has standards in place for a wide range of protections at the workplace. 

Business owners based out of the United States must ensure they are OSHA compliant. This also includes restaurants, food manufacturing units etc. 

However, to be compliant  business owners, franchisors and franchisees need to understand OSHA standards and  “what does it mean to be OSHA compliant?”

Employers need to have a fair understanding of their responsibilities as listed by OSHA and they should meet all applicable OSHA standards. We have put together for you the employers responsibilities as listed by OSHA:

  • Employers provide a safe workplace free from serious known hazards to its employees. They should comply with the rules and regulations and standards issued under the OSHA.

    For eg: Use materials that are fire resistant in the kitchen. Installation of specified number of fire extinguishers in a facility or commercial establishment.

    Regular maintenance of elevators, electrical equipment etc. Following all safety protocols on storage and movement of inventory etc.

  • Periodic examination of workplace conditions to make sure that it adheres to all applicable OSHA standards.

    For eg: Getting all electrical fixtures and machinery checked, examination and servicing of equipment like refrigerator, oven, gas burners etc. in case of restaurants.

  • Ensure employees have appropriate safety tools and equipment required at work and make sure the same is being used and properly maintained by the responsible staff.

    For eg: Aprons, head covering gear, gloves, tools to handle hot and big vessels for employees working in a commercial kitchen. Proper headgear, knee and wrist caps for instructors at a gym.

  • Ensure using specified color codes, labels, posters or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.

    For eg: Fire hazard sign in the kitchen, placing wet floor signage when cleaning is in progress. Color coding signages like red for danger, green for safe etc.

  • The safety training to be provided in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.

    For eg: If your workplace has more of Spanish speaking population, training needs to be provided both in Spanish and English. Likewise all signages must also be in both languages.

  • A workplace which involves working with hazardous chemicals must develop and implement a written hazard communication program. The employer must also ensure that  employees are trained on the hazards they are exposed to and are well aware of the precautions they need to take.

    For eg: Restaurants specializing in serving food using liquid nitrogen.

  • The employer must ensure that a proper and complete record of work-related injuries and illnesses is being maintained.

    For eg: An employee working at a restaurant getting injured while moving the daily supply of vegetables to storage. A record has to be maintained details like how did the injury happen, why did it happen, nature of the accident etc.

  • The names of authorized employee representatives who may be asked to accompany the compliance officer during an inspection must be submitted to the local OSHA compliance officer of your area.

What is OSHA Compliance?

OSHA was created within the Department of Labor by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). The rise in deaths and injuries at the workplace led to a huge public outcry and demand to protect workers. The  legislation was pushed by the Congress and originally called the “safety bill of rights”.

  • The regulation's primary focus since has been to uplift the working conditions and ensure workers feel safe and protected at their workplace. Business owners have benefitted a great deal by following OSHA guidelines and being compliant. 

  • By investing time and money in creating a safe work environment employers have demonstrated to employees that they care about their wellness. This has earned employers a bunch of loyal employees.

  • Improving safety and prevention of  workplace injuries and deaths also leads to lower absenteeism and lower number of accident related compensation claims.  
When an employer adheres to all applicable regulations that have been developed it means a business is OSHA compliant.

How can a business owner achieve OSHA Compliance?

The list of employer responsibilities shared here gives an idea of the breadth of what OSHA requires. However, depending on the nature of business there may be additional requirements. 

  • Companies should recruit one or more safety officers whose main focus should be to make sure the administrative systems, hazard communication, and workplace training requirements are OSHA compliant.

  • A business owner may choose to hire professional safety consultants to assist them with compliance requirements such as chemical hazard or noise exposure at the workplace. It is a good idea to hire a professional as they have the expertise to identify what steps your specific company needs to take in order to be OSHA compliant.

  • A business owner may also seek services of industrial hygienists. These hygienists are experts in recognizing, evaluating, anticipating and controlling workplace conditions that may lead to workers injury or illness.

  • It is a good practice to get the assessments pro-actively done so as to avoid workplace accidents or fatality from occurring.

  • When a business plans to introduce a new process, product line or a new technology at the workplace, it is advisable to make sure that requirements for OSHA compliance are being met.

8 steps of OSHA compliance

Having understood what OSHA compliance is, the place where employers often get stuck is how they become OSHA compliant. Don’t you worry, we have got you covered. We have listed down a step by step guide for you.

Step 1: Create a Hazard Communication plan (HCP)

Good and clear communication is the foundation of a healthy workplace. Create an easy to understand HCP, print copies of your HCP and distribute it  to your employees.
Paste copies of the same at prominent and easily visible locations on the floor. Training is important, but giving them a written document helps them reckon what was taught.

Step 2: Provide the workers with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If the workplace is prone to potential hazards then providing a PPE to all workers working in such areas is mandatory to reduce the risk of exposure.
For example, the house keeping staff, electricians etc working in a hotel are constantly exposed to cleaning agents, chemicals, electrical wires etc. It is imperative to provide them with appropriate shoes, helmet/head cover, gloves, face mask etc. 

Providing PPE alone is not enough, OSHA compliance requires that employees be properly trained to identify and use this equipment and maintain it as well.

Step 3: Keep a first-aid kit at the workplace

In order to be OSHA compliant it is mandatory to have a first-aid kit that is industrially appropriate. An industrially appropriate kit implies one that has sufficient supplies for severe injuries. When investing in a first-aid kit, be cognizant of  the hazards specific to your industry.

It is important to make sure the floor supervisor and all other employees are trained on first-aid protocols and know where the first-aid kit is kept

Step 4:  Display OSHA posters

It is mandatory to put posters in high-traffic areas on the “hazards”, “rules and regulations”, “workplace safety measures” and “employee rights”. A poster about  employee OSHA rights must be on display at a noticeable place. Given below is the latest OSHA “employees rights poster”.

Source : OSHA.gov website

Step 5: Pathways and walkways to be free of any blockages and clutter

It is important to not clutter or keep objects blocking high traffic walkways. Any spillage happening in these areas must be cleaned immediately. When cleaning, the area should be quivered off and signages like “wet floor” and “cleaning in progress” must be prominently displayed.

Areas where equipment like ladders, fire equipment is to be frequently used should meet all OSHA safety  standards. Example, usage of appropriate non-slippery material for flooring, proper ventilation in rooms, enough and prominently marked exit points etc.

Step 6: Diligently maintain incident records

An employer is liable to report any incident related to health and safety to the local  OSHA authority. It could be something as small as a minor injury, major accident, chemical exposure, workplace accident or exposure related illness, fatality etc.

It is mandatory to maintain records of all such incidents with detailed investigation reports. These need to be submitted to the local OSHA office during the compliance audits or on demand.

Step 7: Fire safety plan and fire safety training

Fire hazards are a common occurrence in commercial establishments. A very important aspect of being OSHA compliant is to have a detailed “Fire Safety plan” in place and ensure that employees have been trained about fire safety.

The fire safety plan and evacuation map should be on display at all times on all floors and entry exit points in the building. All exit points in case of a fire must be clearly marked. Each floor and team should have a fire safety in-charge. (These are people who need to do regular mock evacuation drills.)

Apart from planning an evacuation strategy, the safety plan entails  making adjustments to the building, like adding more fire exits to ensure safety, proper labelling of these points, installation of adequate fire-extinguishers and other fire- fighting equipment. Replacing normal doors with self-closing doors, and meeting the overall requirements of fire department and OSHA compliance.

Step 8. Business continuity plan and general emergency training

In the recent pasts we have seen hazards like radiation exposure, terrorist attack, crisis like the on-going pandemic, natural disasters like earthquake, floods etc.

Being OSHA compliant also involves having a business continuity plan in place in such situations. Also, there should be a committee trained to tackle these unforeseen situations.

Take the example of McDonald’s. When COVID-19 hit the world last year in 2020 McDonald’s closed seating areas across all its restaurants, including self-service beverage bars and kiosks.

However, to continue serving customers who relied on them they enhanced their focus on drive thru, walk-in pick-up and McDelivery. The below article discusses how McDonald’s continued business while taking into consideration both customer and employee safety.


OSHA Compliance Inspections

  • A team of OSHA compliance officers are responsible for carrying out routine inspections of their local area.

  • In case of any violations the business owner is liable to pay the penalty and take corrective action as suggested by the local OSHA officer.

  • High-risk industries like chemical plants, construction sites, bakery units may have routine visits from OSHA officials. Low-risk industries may have an unannounced visit in response to a worker's complaints, workplace fatality, community members, or basic reports in  news and media.

  • An officer may issue citations and fines for violations or serious hazards that are found during a compliance inspection. The last thing that any employer wants is to have an OSHA officer on-site. Compliance officers can issue fines and citations for minutest of deficiencies, and not only the issues which triggered the visit in the first place.

  • The citation given by the OSHA officer needs to be  posted until the violation has been corrected, or for three working days, whichever is longer.

  • Cited violations must be corrected as per the deadline of the OSHA citation. The required abatement verification documentation must be submitted in the local OSHA office once correction is done.

OSHA compliance is a complex task and there is no simple way to ensure that a company is compliant at all times. The best approach for a business owner is to:

  • Keep himself updated on the latest regulations and guidelines.

  • Do regular internal inspections.

  • Hire a team of experts and professionals to assist him in being compliant.

  • Constantly work towards maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

  • Invest in employee training and safety measures.

It is important for an employer to make its staff feel valued and cared for, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Secure employees ensure loyalty and better productivity. 

OSHA helps employers with an overall baseline for safety best practices to keep at the forefront of all types of operations. The top priority industry-wide is to stay on top of workplace safety, more so with increased growth and demand. New innovations bring with it new safety challenges. Following OSHA safety standards and periodically reviewing safety programs to update as necessary when new hazards appear or when work changes is the best way to sustain a safe workplace.

For more information on OSHA compliance visit the official government osha website.

Training employees on OSHA is the underlying basis of being OSHA compliant. Lets move on to the various OSHA training modules available and find out the one most appropriate for your employees.

OSHA 10 hour and 30hrs training

As per the “Occupational Hazard and Safety Act, 1970” (OSHA), it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a healthy and safe work environment to all its employees. Under no circumstances should a person ever get injured, get sick or lose this precious life for a paycheck.

This brings us to a very important subject. The objectives of OSHA and the training programs available. Let us first understand the objectives of OSHA.

  • OSHA’s primary objective is to ensure protection of workers and prevention of any work-related accident or injury or illness of death by setting standards and providing training, outreach, education and assistance. 
  • Employers should have in place explicit safety and health training, to ensure that workers have the required skill and knowledge to safely carry out their day to day tasks.
  • OSHA believes that training should be an essential part of every employer’s health and safety program in order to protect workers from any work related injury or illness.
  • Training workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again. It will automatically lead to  fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale and lower insurance premiums to be borne by employers. 

OSHA standards have averted innumerable workplace tragedies. Research shows that people new on the job have a higher rate of illness and injury as compared to their experienced counterparts. 

OSHA’s standards are classified in five categories of OSHA standards training requirements:

  • General Industry
  • Maritime
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Federal Employee Programs

The “Restaurants and hospitality sector” will fall under the “General Industry” category.

An integral part of all OSHA training programs irrespective of the sector they cater to is the “Injury and Illness Prevention Programs”.

Training and education are the key elements of a good injury and illness prevention program. It helps employers identify and fix workplace hazards before workers get injured. Injury and illness prevention programs substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses. This helps employers in reducing costs.

Thousands of employers across the United States have been successfully able to manage workplace safety using injury and illness prevention programs. OSHA strongly believes that all employers can and should follow this practice. Thirty-four states already have guidelines (mandatory and voluntary) for workplace injury and illness prevention programs. 

Most successful injury and illness prevention programs are based on a few common key elements like:

  • Management leadership
  • Worker participation
  • Hazard identification
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Education and training
  • Program evaluation and improvement

To find out more, visit www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth

What training programs does OSHA offer and where can one get trained?

Osha Training Institute (OTI) and  Education Centres are non-profit organizations authorized by OSHA. They deliver occupational safety and health training to workers, supervisors and employers. The organizations are selected through a competitive process based on: 

  • Occupational safety and health training experience
  • Location and training facilities
  • Ability to provide training in the entire region assigned. 

The OTI offers courses and seminars on a variety of safety and health topics. They contribute to the OSHA training by offering safety and health programs, including community outreach efforts, courses offered in Spanish, and various youth initiatives. These centres also support the Voluntary OSHA Outreach Training Program.

Under this program they offer trainer courses and process trainer requests for course completion cards. The Outreach Training Program is a voluntary program and does not fulfil any OSHA requirements. However, this outreach program provides basic safety and health information and education. As per the OSHA law, all required training must be provided by and paid for by employers. 

The outreach program authorizes safety professionals to deliver 10-hour and 30-hour classes on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces.

However, please note this is a voluntary program and does not meet training requirements for any OSHA standards. The courses that come under the purview of the Outreach Training Program are considered certification. 

Once the employers have determined that they should get their employees OSHA trained, they are often confused whether they should take the 10 hours training or the 30 hours training. 

As employers they need to ask themselves, what do they want to achieve by training their employees? Will the training program ensure safety of the employees? Let us delve into the details of both the 10 hours and 30 hours OSHA training modules to decide which one is the best suited for each category of employees.

OSHA 10-hour training (Restaurant) 

What does the 10-hour training cover? 

OSHA 10-Hour Training is required for all entry level workers in the United States. This course teaches about job related health and safety hazards, how to avoid them, or mitigate their effects should they occur.

Who can take the 10-hour OSHA training? 

The 10-hour course has been designed keeping in mind new joiners and people working as a team contributor. If you are someone not in a supervisory role and not responsible for other team members, the OSHA 10 program is suitable for you. However, there may be an exception to this rule depending on what state/location you are in. 

There are specific regulations placed by some states requiring certain safety courses like the OSHA Outreach Training for certain professions that involve a higher risk despite their lack of supervisory responsibilities. These include high risk industries where employers require a consistent foundation for safety training. Such industries are manufacturing, construction, warehouse, and maritime. 

Some of the states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Missouri, and Rhode Island have laws mandating the training. So, it is always better to check the latest law for the particular states. 

Topics covered 

Osha 10-hour training comprises certain topics that are industry specific. The course can be divided into 3 parts as shown below: 

Mandatory subjects:  These are the subjects which are covered under all 10-hour OSHA programs irrespective of the industry. Approximately 6 – 7 hours of the course are occupied by mandatory topics. For example, introduction to OSHA, Fire prevention etc are covered under mandatory subjects. 

Each topic has to be covered in the specified time. Their 10-hour courses are readily available for construction, maritime and general industry. 

Elective subjects: OSHA provides a list of specific industry procedures, and course designers choose which topics are most relevant for their students. The typical OSHA-approved curriculum has two-hour sessions dedicated to each topic - at least half an hour per week devoted solely to one area.

Optional subjects: OSHA guidelines allow you to use up any spare time by either covering a topic that was not previously mentioned or choosing an optional course.

10- hour training for Restaurant usually covers the below topics. The electives can be changed as per the role of the person that requires training. 

The following modules can be covered specific for restaurant safety

  1. Hazard Communication: Basic (1 hour)
  2. Introduction to OSHA (1 hour)
  3. Fire Prevention Plans  and Emergency Action and (1 hour)
  4. Personal Protective Equipment: Basic (1 hour)
  5. Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection (1 hour)
  6. Electrical Safety for Employees: Basic (1 hour)
  7. Workplace Hygiene and Illness Prevention (1 hour)
  8. Ergonomic Hazards in General Industry (1 hour)
  9. Worker Safety in Restaurants (2 hours)

OSHA 30-hours training

What does 30-hour training cover? 

The OSHA 30-Hour training program helps supervisors to gain a broader and deeper understanding of job-related health and safety issues. The training equips them to manage the safety of the entire team in a much more efficient manner.

Who can take 30-hour OSHA training? 

The OSHA 30-Hour courses are designed for site leads, foremen, engineers, supervisors, project managers and safety specialists.

Topics Covered

The course structure is similar with mandatory, elective and optional subjects as in the OSHA 10-hour module.

Mandatory subjects: About half the course time will be covered by the mandatory topics. 

Elective subjects: 30-hour training has more electives to choose than the 10-hour. 

Optional subject: This is to cover anything extra or any subject that requires more elaboration. 

OSHA Training FAQs

How much does it cost?  

A 30 hours training course will cost more than the 10-hour course. There will be more loss of production hours too. The 10-hour training would take 2 days’ time and 30 hours training would be for 4 days. But it is not wise to choose your course based on cost only. 

Who are authorised online outreach trainers? 

The following link to OSHA website has the link to authorised training providers OSHA-Authorized Online Outreach Training Providers | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Is there an exam to clear? 

If you want to be sure that your knowledge stays fresh, look for OSHA providers with ongoing examination requirements. OSHA doesn’t have any examination of its own. 

Is 10-hour training a prerequisite for a 30-hours course? 

No. After finishing a 10-hour course, if you feel the need for a 30-hour course, one can take that. 

Understanding the difference between the 10 hour and 30 hour OSHA training

To gain more perspective in a simplified way look at a  10-hour course as a beginner’s safety course that every worker should have. The 30-hour course, on the other hand, is a course for everyone. It is a detailed course that every supervisor or lead person should have. The two courses are not completely different. Any person who holds a 10-hour card can receive an additional 20 hours of training to receive the 30-hour card.

Final thoughts

Over the years OSHA standards have protected employees by averting countless workplace incidents that might lead to an injury or death. Including explicit safety training programs ensures employees are equipped with skills and knowledge to carry out their tasks safely. The goal of these training’s is not  just to get a card proving that the said employee was present and is certified. OSHA’s mission has always been to ensure protection of workers and prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. They have been able to do so by setting and enforcing standards, providing training, outreach, education and assistance. 

Education of any kind is always instrumental in saving lives. An effective training program needs to be well researched to educate people and give employees what they need. The key is in getting the right course.

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