What is OSHA 10 Certification and How Long is it Good For?

osha 10 certification

If you're job hunting in certain states or within certain industries, you'll see job listings that say "Must have up-to-date OSHA 10 Certification." Sometimes they'll call this a "DOL card," because the Department of Labor (DOL) issues plastic wallet cards you can use as proof of training.

So, what is OSHA 10 and how long does it stay "up to date"?

What is OSHA 10 Certification?

People in construction, manufacturing, and other industries use the terms "OSHA Certified" or "OSHA Certification" to mean that you've completed OSHA Outreach training (and earned a "certificate of completion").

We don't want to nitpick, but OSHA is very clear about the terminology that OSHA-authorized training providers like us are allowed to use in our public materials.

So for the record, "OSHA Certification" has no official meaning, and OSHA has made it clear that Outreach courses don't count as certification.

Of course, that doesn't stop the general public from using "OSHA Certification" for OSHA 10, and that's fine. But since we can get in trouble with OSHA over language, we just want to cover our…bases.

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What is OSHA 10?

OSHA 10 is a 10-hour safety course designed by OSHA to cover safety basics for workers in high-risk industries. The point is to make workers aware of common safety and health hazards they may find on the job, as well as their right to work in a safe and "healthful" environment.

OSHA 10 is part of what OSHA calls its Outreach Training Program. There are two levels of Outreach courses: OSHA 10 is for regular workers, and OSHA 30 is for workers with supervisory responsibilities.

What's the Right Type of OSHA 10 Certification For Me?

OSHA's Outreach courses are divided up into a few categories by the type of work – by "industry." You need to make sure you take the right type. OSHA designed their Outreach Training Program to be consistent but flexible, which means trainers have to cover certain topics but they can pick and choose with others.

There are a few different categories of OSHA 10 certification:

  • OSHA 10 Construction
  • OSHA 10 Maritime, which is further divided into Shipyard, Marine Terminal, and Longshoring
  • OSHA 10 General Industry, which covers every other type of work

General Industry tends to be the trickiest for picking the right curriculum because it can be tailored for so many different jobs. Most focus on manufacturing and various industrial work, but you can find courses designed for others, like healthcare workers.

If you need an OSHA 10 course, especially in General Industry, pay attention to the topics covered. OSHA 10 certification will be most valuable if it focuses on safety concerns relevant to you.

Is OSHA 10 Required?

That depends.

OSHA considers its Outreach Training to be voluntary. By themselves, Outreach courses don’t fulfill an employer's safety and health training obligations – though, in practical terms, they give a head start.

Certain jurisdictions and employers, however, will require a DOL card. This is actually why the Outreach Program exists – bureaucrats wanted a clear-cut standard for safety training they could set as a minimum requirement.

In terms of state or local regulations, OSHA 10 mandates are almost exclusively in the construction industry. The biggest exception is that Nevada requires all entertainment industry workers to get an OSHA 10 General Industry card.

Even when a DOL card isn't legally required, your employer may make it a hiring requirement or give hiring preference to OSHA-certified applicants.

Why and Where is OSHA 10 Required for Construction?

Legal requirements for OSHA 10 Construction make sense because the construction and demolition industry is one of the most dangerous in the U.S.

The construction industry employs only 5-7% of the U.S. workforce, but it accounts for 20% of worker deaths – over 1000 a year. Injury and illness rates are also significantly higher than the workforce average – and that's after a quarter of construction workers admit they've failed to report a work-related injury for the official stats.

Only a few jurisdictions like Nevada and Philadelphia require OSHA 10 outright for all construction workers. Usually, the certification requirements are tied to public works funding – contractors have to provide proof that all workers have completed OSHA 10.

Often, the requirement only kicks in for projects over a certain value. A $100,000 minimum is popular – that's the threshold in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. New York State and West Virginia have even higher minimums, while in Massachusetts, the minimum is just $10,000. Missouri has no minimum at all – if a project has any public funding, the requirement stands.

Then there are the oddballs. Miami-Dade County in Florida requires OSHA 10 certification on any contract (public or private) worth over $1 million. New York City used to require a DOL card, but they now require their own 40-hour training for any project bigger than a 3-family home.

The only way to know for sure if OSHA 10 is required for you is to check with local employers or search for relevant laws in your state, county, or city. These laws change all the time, so we're just giving examples.

Does OSHA 10 Expire?

OSHA doesn't put an expiration date on DOL cards. As far as they're concerned, there's no OSHA 10 expiration.

The parties that require an OSHA 10 card – including state and local governments or employers – will usually also specify how often the training needs to be renewed.

How Long is OSHA 10 Good For, When Required?

It depends on the local law or individual employer, but three to five years is common. The OSHA 10 renewal requirement is 5 years in Connecticut, Miami, and Philadelphia.

Where Do You Get OSHA 10?

OSHA itself doesn't offer training directly to workers. Instead, they authorize third parties like us to do it. Some OSHA-authorized training is classroom-based, but ours is online, self-paced, and mobile-friendly for your convenience.

We offer OSHA 10 Construction and OSHA 10 General Industry, as well as the 30-hour supervisor-level classes for both. If you're in New York City, we also have courses that fulfill your unique construction training requirements, known as NYC SST.

Register now, and you can start earning your OSHA 10 credentials right away!