The School of Safety: Education and training resources

By Tom O'Connor | May 14, 2024
The School of Safety: Education and training resources
Education and training are critical to creating a safe work environment and establishing a positive safety culture on every job site. 

Education and training are critical to creating a safe work environment and establishing a positive safety culture on every job site. In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration established its Outreach Training Program to address basic, minimum safeguards in the workplace.

OSHA’s mission is to protect workers. However, the assumption is often that the agency is only responsible for the adoption and enforcement of regulations. More exposure is needed for the resources OSHA makes available to help organizations improve workplace safety, especially training. According to OSHA, “Safety starts with training.”

The Outreach Training Program is completely voluntary, intended to make workers familiar with workplace hazards, promote on-the-job safety and health and inform workers of their rights. Outreach training comes in the form of a 10-hour and a 30-hour course. There are general industry and construction industry courses for each. The content addresses hazard recognition and avoidance, workers’ rights, employer responsibilities and how to file a complaint.

These courses can be modified by instructors for specific industries, with a selection of topics recommended by OSHA. However, some subject areas are mandatory for a given course. For example, every construction curriculum must include Introduction to OSHA and the Construction Focus Four (Falls, Struck-by, Caught-in or between and Electrocution).

ET&D Partnership training

There are frequent criticisms of the outreach program. Some in the industry believe that the subject matter is too specific to general construction and does not thoroughly address the electrical hazards workers face. Fortunately, the Electrical Transmission and Distribution (ET&D) Partnership was developed and got approval from OSHA to fill this gap with a 10-hour electrical construction industry outreach training course.

This nontraditional course is intended for workers involved with the construction and maintenance of power transmission and distribution systems. Topics include an introduction to OSHA, electrical safety, safe grounding practices, personal protective equipment, job briefings, confined and enclosed spaces, lifting and rigging, excavations and fall protection.

Although the emphasis in the program is on current OSHA 1910 and 1926 standards, the class discusses accepted best practices the partnership established. 

There’s also a nontraditional supervisory leadership skills outreach training. It’s a 20-hour course designed for supervisors in the electrical transmission and distribution industry who play a role in implementing and managing a safety and health program.

Workers who complete outreach training are issued an official Department of Labor OSHA card. Individuals who successfully complete the ET&D Partnership version receive a card stamped by the partnership. All workers, regardless of their field, should take OSHA’s 10-hour training course. It is especially recommended for every employee in the construction and electrical industries. OSHA’s 30-hour course is recommended for all construction workers with a supervisory role.

Becoming a trainer

Outreach training must be administered by an authorized OSHA train-the-trainer. For a construction train-the-trainer, certain requirements must be met, including:

  • Five years of construction safety experience, professional certification or a combination of experience and a degree in safety
  • Completion of course 510, OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry
  • Completion of course 500, OSHA Trainer Course in OSHA Standards for Construction

Train-the-trainer courses are taught at OSHA Training Institute Education Centers in most states. General industry train-the-trainers follow a similar path. To teach the ET&D course, one must become an authorized train-the-trainer and then complete the partnership course. 

Only trainers employed by an ET&D partner can deliver the training, and those being trained must be employees of a partner. Trainers associated with NECA, IBEW and EEI have unique access to this training.

Authorized trainers and courses can be found on OSHA’s website at

OSHA has empowered trainers to make courses more accessible by offering them online. The same material is covered electronically and in person. Courses are offered by many NECA chapters and the IBEW. Those interested in the ET&D Partnership programs can visit

State requirements and job-specific training

Several states require OSHA outreach courses for specific workers. These are Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Each state with these requirements has varying thresholds and nuances. Employers operating in those states should become familiar with them. 

For states without a legal requirement, OSHA-authorized training and a Department of Labor card is a good way to prove that efforts have been made to inform workers of hazards.

Although some states, jurisdictions and employers deem outreach training a requirement, OSHA considers it voluntary. Also, just because an employee completed outreach training doesn’t mean that all OSHA training requirements are met. 

Employers are required to provide additional training on job-specific hazards. This may include a combination of construction, general industry and job-site training. Every job site will have unique hazards and training requirements. 

The OSHA Outreach Training program provides only basic, minimum safety training. Employers need to supplement OSHA’s offerings with safety and hazard abatement training, and this should be accompanied by continuing safety education and training.

Many organizations don’t have the knowledge or familiarity with the tools, equipment and practices that communicate to workers how to do their jobs safely, especially when developing a curriculum for education and training programs on topics they are unfamiliar with. There are plenty of resources they can turn to.


OSHA has an array of training resources on a variety of topics that employers can use. It can also provide minimum safety requirements on topics addressed in existing regulations and the outreach program. Most state OSHA programs can provide similar information and resources. In the event OSHA is not able to assist in offering training in a specific area, it can point employers in the right direction.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has several education and training tools available on its website at NIOSH also offers numerous workplace safety and health guides on topics ranging from confined spaces and electrical safety to infectious diseases and more, and provided the sources used to develop these guides.

Electrical Training Alliance and NFPA

The IBEW–NECA Electrical Training Alliance (formerly the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) is another resource available to workers in the electrical space. The Alliance can help increase knowledge base, proficiency and work opportunities on topics including instrumentation, electric vehicle infrastructure and electrical safety-related work practices including NFPA 70E. The Electrical Training Alliance can be contacted directly at

The National Fire Protection Association and the 70E standard are also extremely important for education and training in the electrical industry. NFPA offers training that provides the most current requirements for electricians, contractors, risk managers, engineers, building managers, owners and others at risk or with responsibilities maintaining an electrically safe workplace. 


When education and training pertain to the use of tools, equipment or PPE, the manufacturer can be another helpful resource. Manufacturers know their products and how they are best used and safely operated. Many manufacturers will even come to the job site and teach employees about safely using their products. Additionally, they can usually provide supplemental training documents to employers for inclusion in in-house safety and training programs.

For example, Advanced Power Solutions/PowerSafetyPRO, a Damascus, Ore., company that manufactures a range of electrical and fire-retardant PPE, offers training to end-users in multiple forms on a variety of topics, including product and safety literature, in-person training, live webinars and more. Training addresses the National Electrical Code, arc flash, bonding and grounding and many other areas.

Outside consultants

Outside consultants, third-party evaluators and subject-matter experts can also be hired for supplemental education and training, according to Chuck Kelly, president of Kelly Consulting and Mediation Services. 

“When looking for a trainer in electrical safety, I would break it down into more specifics,” he said. “If you are looking for a general overview, you can go with local community college instructors or electrical manufacturers reps. If you are wanting a more specific focus, then you need to look for recognized subject matter experts. Depending on the job involved, inside or outside electrical work, you would look to individuals familiar with the work due to the many intricacies of each job. An inside electrical trainer may not be as familiar with the precautions needed when doing overhead line work and vice versa. Your local NJATC or NECA chapter can assist in identifying these individuals.

“One of the biggest advantages that I see, and recommend to my clients, is the ability to have a fresh set of eyes, perspectives and simply a different face delivering the training,” Kelly said. “This is true in compliance training or work methods training. Training needs to resonate with the receiver. Sometimes having a third party conduct the training assists in reinforcing the in-house training programs and strengthens the belief that what is being taught is recognized industry practice.”

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About The Author

O’CONNOR is safety and regulatory affairs manager for Intec, a safety consulting, training and publishing firm. Reach him at [email protected].





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