Affordable Employee Training to Ensure Workplace Safety
Workplace safety training is an important part of creating a safe work environment. Dedicated training gives workers and supervisors the knowledge and skills needed to avoid hazards and risks in the workplace, as well as the information they need to identify, report and control hazards and risks.
Contract Education programs at California community colleges throughout the state offer affordable workplace safety programs, including the popular Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) trainings – OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 – for employers across industries. While colleges have modified how they are delivering the training, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workplace safety training still is being offered, either online or as a hybrid of online and in-person learning, depending on the topic.
OSHA Safety Training a Popular Choice for Employers
Chaffey College’s InTech Center is just one of the many Contract Education programs in the state that offers safety training for the workplace. Jon Fox, the center’s business liaison, said training for OSHA certification is in the top five safety trainings provided by the center, with trainings offered in OSHA 10, OSHA 30, HAZMAT and HAZWOPER.
OSHA 10 training is recommended for all employees, and covers injury prevention, emergency protocols, recognizing and protecting against hazards, causes and prevention of injuries and personal protective equipment (PPE). OSHA 30 training is for supervisors, managers, safety personnel and employees working in higher-risk areas and dives more in-depth into the topics covered in the OSHA 10 training. The trainings, when delivered in California, follow Cal/OSHA standards, which are more stringent than federal requirements.
While the majority of employers requesting OSHA training for their employees are manufacturers, Chaffey College has provided training to a wide variety of employers, Fox said.
At Cerritos College, OSHA is also among the most popular employee safety trainings across industries, said, Belle Gomez, director of Community Advancement at the Cerritos College Center for Corporate Training. While Cerritos is offering mostly online safety training for employees, delivered by an OSHA-certified instructor, there are portions of some training courses that need to be conducted in person, such as allowing for time on a forklift while learning how to safely operate it. Strict safety guidelines are followed for in-person learning, Gomez said, with a maximum of 10 employees per session and physical distancing in place.
Chaffey also has been delivering safety classes online and offers hybrid classes that include online and in-person learning. In November, a hazmat training that was supposed to have been delivered in person prior to the pandemic had to go virtual via Zoom. Those types of changes have been common since last spring, when businesses and organizations across the country began to pivot – and employers who generally preferred in-person training prior to the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to see the value of virtual training.
“It’s shifted the perception of a lot of employers to be a lot more open to online training and safety training,” Fox said.
Both Fox and Gomez said that while the OSHA curriculum is highly prescriptive, it leaves some room for additions, and that has given instructors the leeway to incorporate important COVID-19 safety information into their trainings.
“That’s not necessarily required for the certification, but it’s required for the times,” Gomez said.
Contract Education Offers Other Workplace Safety Trainings
In addition to the OSHA training, Cerritos College offers training for the food manufacturer industry around food safety quality to ensure the businesses comply with FDA guidelines. This line of training focuses on creating protocols and procedures to manage food production processes, including standard operating procedures to prevent food contamination. The college is able to provide training for certifications that include Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points training. It also works with certified, highly experienced and registered consultant lead instructors to provide an Internal and External Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Audits Course. The course covers Food Safety Management Systems, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), HACCP Program, ISO-19011 Auditing Principles, and GFSI schemes from the auditor perspective.
Chaffey also offers training in NFPA 70E, a standard of the National Fire Protection Association regarding electrical safety in the workplace. It’s designed for employees who work with heavy equipment with high voltage to protect them from injury from arc flash.
Not all Contract Education safety trainings result in certification, though. Fox said an employer once requested an active shooter training for its employees, and the Chaffey team worked with the employer to find an appropriate trainer for the training, which did not lead to a certification.
“There’s the out-of-the-box training that we do fairly often, but one of the strengths of Contract Education is the ability to take those custom requests and put together a rapid response program to it,” Fox said.
(For other types of Contract Education beyond safety training, check out other types of training programs for employees).
California Employers May Be Eligible for Safety Training Funding
As a California employer, one of the most important things to know about employee safety training is that you may be eligible for funding to help cover a portion of the cost. There is funding available through the Employment Training Panel and administered by local community colleges that have ETP contracts.
Gomez explained that businesses that already have a preferred trainer for workplace safety training still could be eligible for ETP funding, which is awarded as a reimbursement.
Contact the Contract Education division at your local community college to learn more about safety training for your employees and about eligibility for ETP funding. Use our directory, which allows you to search for your Contract Education unit by region.