OSHA Training Requirements: Ensuring Workplace Safety

Effective training is a cornerstone of this mission: providing workers with the knowledge and skills to perform their jobs safely and to understand the hazards they might face. In this edition of HETI Horizons, we will explore the key aspects of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) training requirements – including who needs training, what topics are covered, and how training should be conducted and documented.
OSHA continuously updates and refines its training requirements to address emerging workplace hazards and improve safety standards. Here are some of the recent updates and trends in those requirements:

  • OSHA introduced Emergency Temporary Standards to address the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly focusing on healthcare settings. These standards require employers to implement a COVID-19 plan, screen employees, and provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and training on infection control practices.
  •  OSHA has been focusing on workplace violence, particularly in healthcare and social services. The agency is considering new standards that would require employers to develop and implement violence prevention plans, including training for workers on recognizing and de-escalating potentially violent situations.
  • OSHA refers to the NFPA 70 Standard for electrical safety in the workplace. Recent updates to this standard require more comprehensive training on electrical safety practices, arc flash hazards, and the proper use of electrical PPE.

Who Needs OSHA Training?

OSHA training requirements are designed to cover a wide range of industries and job
functions. Virtually every worker in the United States could benefit from some form of OSHA
training, but specific requirements vary depending on the nature of the job and the
associated risks. Key groups that typically require OSHA training include:

  • General Industry Workers: This broad category includes workers in sectors such as
    manufacturing, healthcare, and warehousing. OSHA’s General Industry Standards (29 CFR 1910) specify the training needed for various hazards these workers might encounter.
  • Construction Workers: Given the high-risk nature of construction work, OSHA has developed specific standards (29 CFR 1926) that mandate training on hazards unique to this field – such as fall protection, scaffolding, and trenching.
  • Maritime Workers: Maritime industry workers must be trained according to OSHA’s Maritime Standards (29 CFR 1915, 1917, and 1918), which address risks related to shipyard employment, marine terminals, and longshoring.
  • Agricultural Workers: OSHA’s Agriculture Standards (29 CFR 1928) require training for hazards like machinery, pesticides, and grain handling.

What Topics Are Covered?

The topics covered in OSHA training programs are extensive and tailored to the specific hazards of different industries. Some of the key areas include:

  • Hazard Communication: Workers must be trained to understand and identify chemical
    hazards, read labels and safety data sheets, and know the procedures for handling hazardous
    substances safely.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Training on the correct selection, use, maintenance, and
    disposal of PPE is crucial to protect workers from physical, chemical, and biological hazards.
    The employer must ensure that each employee can demonstrate knowledge of their respirator’s
    proper fit, usage, or maintenance.
  • Emergency Action Plans: Employees must be trained on how to respond to various emergencies – including fires, chemical spills, and natural disasters. This includes evacuation procedures and the use of emergency equipment.
  • Lockout/Tagout Procedures: For workers involved in the maintenance and servicing of machinery, training on lockout/tagout procedures is essential to prevent accidental machine start-up and ensure energy sources are safely controlled.
  • Fall Protection: In industries such as construction, training on fall protection systems and the correct use of harnesses, guardrails, and nets is vital to prevent fall-related injuries and fatalities.

How Should Training Be Conducted?

Effective OSHA training should be comprehensive, engaging, and tailored to the specific needs of the
workforce. Here are some key principles for conducting training:

  • Qualified Trainers: Training should be conducted by individuals who have the necessary knowledge,
    experience, and teaching skills to effectively communicate safety concepts and practices.
  • Interactive and Practical: Training sessions should include interactive elements such as hands-on
    demonstrations, real-life scenarios, and practical exercises – to ensure workers can apply what they have learned in their daily tasks.
  • Language and Literacy Considerations: To be effective, training must be understandable to all
    workers. This means providing instruction in the workers’ primary languages and considering literacy levels.
  • Regular and Ongoing: Initial training should be followed by regular refresher courses to reinforce safety concepts and keep up with any changes in regulations or workplace conditions.

Documentation and Compliance

Proper documentation of OSHA training is essential for demonstrating compliance with regulations and for keeping track of workers’ training history. Key documentation practices include:

  • Training Records: Maintain detailed records of all training sessions – including dates, topics covered, trainer information, and participant names.
  • Certificates of Completion: Provide certificates or other proof of training completion to employees, which can be useful for compliance verification and employee records.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits of training programs and records to ensure ongoing compliance with OSHA standards and to identify any areas for improvement.

HETI…Here to Help

In conclusion, OSHA training is a vital component of workplace safety – equipping workers with the
knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves and their colleagues from hazards. By adhering to OSHA’s training requirements, employers can create a safer work environment, reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, comply with federal regulations, and demonstrate their ongoing commitment to workplace health and safety.
HETI can help businesses comply with OSHA training requirements, ensure safe workplaces, and avoid costly penalties. By offering customized training programs, employing expert trainers, ensuring
comprehensive compliance documentation, and providing continuous support, HETI serves as an essential partner for businesses aiming to meet regulatory requirements and create safe working environments.

Understanding 1,4-Dioxane and Its Implications

1,4-Dioxane, a highly mobile compound found in various manufacturing processes and consumer products, has drawn significant attention recently. Classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure, its properties present challenges for characterization and treatment – sparking concerns about its potential impact on human health and the environment.

What is 1,4-Dioxane?

A volatile, flammable liquid, 1,4-dioxane is a man-made organic compound. Its high mobility in soils and rapid migration in groundwater, coupled with its resistance to subsurface biodegradation, pose environmental challenges. While it shares similarities with “forever chemicals” like PFAS, 1,4-dioxane does not bioaccumulate in plants or animals over time, distinguishing it from true “forever chemicals.”

Industrial Applications and Consumer Products

Since the 1950s, 1,4-dioxane has primarily been used as a stabilizer in industrial solvents. While restrictions in drinking water, groundwater, and other environmental regulations have impacted industrial reliance on 1,4-dioxane, it is currently still in use in certain manufacturing processes – including:

  • Solvent for paper, cotton, and textile processing
  • Chemical manufacturing and stabilizing in chlorinated solvents
  • Solvent for paints, dyes, greases, antifreeze, and aircraft deicing fluids
  • Pesticide solvent or inert ingredient
  • Additive in adhesives
  • Solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, veterinary drugs, and natural health products
  • Carrier for biocides; to analyze vegetable matter, dehydrate biological samples prior to slide preparation, and isolate DNA elements
  • Byproduct in the manufacture of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic

However, 1,4-dioxane’s presence is not confined to industrial settings. It has been detected as an impurity or trace contaminant in various consumer products – primarily cosmetics and detergents. But many companies have been actively working to reduce this impurity in recent years.


The primary exposure pathways for 1,4-dioxane are inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure.
Occupational contact and exposure are most likely to occur at manufacturing facilities. People can
be exposed following ingestion or contact with water containing 1,4-dioxane and with cosmetics/
personal hygiene products that contain ingredients in which it may be a contaminant.

Short-term exposure may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; large quantity short-term exposure may lead to kidney and liver damage. Acute exposure to large amounts of 1,4-dioxane has been associated with adverse nervous system effects and can result in death.

Chronic exposure has shown liver and kidney damage in animals. Laboratory animal studies have also shown that oral exposure over a lifetime causes cancer, while skin exposure can also increase the cancer-causing properties of other chemicals.

Health and Environmental Concerns

Due to its high solubility in water and mobility in soils, one concern associated with 1,4-dioxane is its potential to be a contaminant in groundwater and drinking water. The compound has been identified in water supplies in various regions, leading to worries about its potential effects on public health. Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of 1,4-dioxane in drinking water may pose health risks – making it a subject of close scrutiny by regulatory agencies worldwide. USEPA has set guidelines for acceptable levels in drinking water to ensure public safety.

Regulatory agencies and environmental organizations – such as USEPA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – closely monitor and regulate the levels of 1,4-dioxane in water supplies; work environments; and food, cosmetics, and household products to ensure public safety. In order to limit the inadvertent release of this chemical into the environment, it’s important for industries to implement proper waste disposal practices – including proper wastewater treatment and containment measures to prevent its migration into groundwater.

The Environmental Working Group, the Centers for Disease Control, and the FDA emphasize the importance of raising awareness about 1,4-dioxane and advocating for responsible manufacturing practices. By encouraging the reduction or elimination of this compound in industrial processes, companies can contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

The EPA, OSHA, and other state environmental agencies can also encourage limiting the use of this compound by enforcing more stringent actionable levels in air, water, and soil. For example, USEPA performed a Risk Evaluation in 2020 and drafted a supplement in July 2023 as part of the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Consumer Awareness and Product Choices

Consumers can also play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of 1,4-dioxane. By being
informed about product ingredients and choosing items with lower or no levels of this compound,
individuals can make choices that align with their health and environmental values. Many
companies are now recognizing the importance of transparency in labeling and are working to
reduce or eliminate 1,4-dioxane from their products.

Treatment Technologies

Since being identified as an emerging contaminant of concern, several technologies have been utilized to remediate 1,4-dioxane with varying results. The removal of 1,4-dioxane by conventional water and wastewater treatment plants has proven to be ineffective due to its unique physicochemical properties. 1,4-dioxane dissolves completely and does not evaporate readily, making it difficult to remove from water.

Wastewater and drinking water treatment plants across the U.S. have needed to implement new techniques to meet the increasingly strict standards as new information about the effects of this compound are discovered. Common treatment technologies include advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and bioremediation. In situ and ex situ bioremediation processes are being explored as more cost-effective, but time-consuming, remediation techniques.

Ongoing Research and Future Outlook

As the scientific community continues to study 1,4-dioxane, ongoing research aims to deepen our understanding of its behavior in different environments and its potential long-term effects. This knowledge will be instrumental in shaping regulations and industry practices to minimize the risks associated with this compound.

In conclusion, while 1,4-dioxane has widespread industrial applications, its presence in consumer products and potential impact on water supplies have raised valid concerns. Regulatory measures, responsible manufacturing practices, and informed consumer choices are essential in addressing these concerns and working towards a safer, healthier future.

How HETI Can Help

HETI’s staff of environmental scientists, geologists, industrial hygienists and remediation professionals have extensive experience in evaluating sites for potential 1,4-dioxane contamination. We coordinate/conduct soil and groundwater sampling and assess specific needs to bring sites to federal/state regulatory compliance – working with our clients in the development of various remedial approaches. Whatever the issue, HETI is here to help.