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Course 800 - Introduction to Construction Safety Management

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Education and Training



This module will introduce you to general OSHA requirements for education and training in the construction industry. We will not only look at the minimum requirements, but all address best practices in effective safety and health education programs.

The employer should conduct construction safety training courses and educational programs in compliance with OSHA standard 1926.21, Safety training and education, to help broaden worker and manager knowledge/skills to recognize, avoid, and prevent safety and health hazards on jobsites. Click on the button below to see the safety and training standard.

  • Part Number:1926
  • Part Number Title:Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
  • Subpart:1926 Subpart C
  • Subpart Title:General Safety and Health Provisions
  • Standard Number: 1926.21
  • Title: Safety training and education.
  • GPO Source:e-CFR

1926.21(a) General requirements. The Secretary shall, pursuant to section 107(f) of the Act, establish and supervise programs for the education and training of employers and employees in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of unsafe conditions in employments covered by the act.

1926.21(b) Employer responsibility.

  • 1926.21(b)(1) The employer should avail himself of the safety and health training programs the Secretary provides.
  • 1926.21(b)(2) The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
  • 1926.21(b)(3) Employees required to handle or use poisons, caustics, and other harmful substances shall be instructed regarding the safe handling and use, and be made aware of the potential hazards, personal hygiene, and personal protective measures required.
  • 1926.21(b)(4) In job site areas where harmful plants or animals are present, employees who may be exposed shall be instructed regarding the potential hazards, and how to avoid injury, and the first aid procedures to be used in the event of injury.
  • 1926.21(b)(5) Employees required to handle or use flammable liquids, gases, or toxic materials shall be instructed in the safe handling and use of these materials and made aware of the specific requirements contained in Subparts D, F, and other applicable subparts of this part.

To learn more about safety education and training, be sure to complete OSHAcademy Courses 703, 721, and 723.

Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the on the "Fatal Four" construction dangers. Be sure to train these topics.

Informing Employees of Hazards

It’s very important for the employer to establish safety education and training for employees so that they know how to avoid and prevent of unsafe conditions at the construction worksite.

Employers should also educate all employees on how to control or eliminate any hazards to which they are exposed.

Employees required to handle or use poisons, caustics, and other harmful substances should be instructed on how to safely handle and use them, and first aid procedures if exposure occurs. Employees should also be made aware of the potential hazards, personal hygiene, and personal protective measures required.

Employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces should instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to take, and how to use protective and emergency equipment.

Employers must inform employees about the hazards of all classified chemicals produced or imported.

Employees who perform work while on a scaffold must be trained by a qualified person to:

  1. recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used
  2. understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards

The employer must inform workers on the physical and health hazards associated with toxic and hazardous substances to which employees may be exposed on the worksite.

Employers must provide workers and their designated representatives a right of access to relevant exposure and medical records. Employers must provide OSHA representatives access to these records in order to fulfill responsibilities under the OSH Act.

Implementing Education and Training

The company should provide safety information and training to assure the requirements of OSHA standards are met and it should continuously evaluate employee training needs to keep workers safe and healthy on the job.

New Employee Orientation

New employees should receive training on your companies safety and health management system, safe work practices and expectations, and specific safety and health training for the tasks that they will perform.

After inspecting a job site, a designated person should identify and evaluate all potential hazards that may cause serious injuries and increase the probability of an accident. Actions will be taken to minimize the hazards and protect the workers.

The Safety Coordinator or other designated site safety person will appraise the skill and knowledge level of exposed workers, and provide any needed training. Appropriate training should be provided where it is needed.

The following things must also be done when training new employees:

  • Hazards must be identified.
  • Necessary precautions will be explained.
  • Training length and level of detail should be determined by the severity of the hazards and the requirements of OSHA.
  • Records should be maintained for all training sessions with descriptions of topics covered and names of workers trained.

Toolbox Talks

Toolbox talks should be conducted regularly (weekly or daily). Topics covered should include:

  • the safe work practices necessary for that day’s work
  • any safety concerns workers may have
  • brief refresher training on relevant safety topics (topics to be provided by the Safety Coordinator)

A Simple Seven Step On-The-Job Training (OJT) Process

Safety training should be simple training. It should be done where the task is performed, and hopefully the supervisor is conducting the training. Here is a seven-step OJT training process that helps to ensure new employees don't get hurt while being trained. We know it may appear to be unnecessary, but new construction workers get hurt regularly while being initially taught how to do a job.

Step 1- Introduction: State and discuss the learning objectives and answer any questions the employee may have. Discuss the acceptable standards of knowledge and performance. Tell the trainee what you're going to train. Emphasize the importance of the procedure to the success of the production/service goals.

Step 2- Trainer shows and tells: In this step the trainee becomes familiar with each work practice and why it is important. Review the initial conditions for the procedure. Demonstrate the process, carefully explaining each step as you go. Answer questions and continue to demonstrate and explain until the employee understands what to do, when and why to do it, and how to do it.

Step 3- Learner tells - Trainer shows: This step is necessary when exposure to hazards inherent in the procedure could cause serious harm. It protects the trainee because the trainer performs the procedure. The trainee explains the procedure to the trainer, while the trainer does it.

On-The-Job Training (OJT) Process (Continued)

Step 4: Learner shows and tells: The trainer has the trainee do it. The trainee explains the step, gets permission to perform the step and then carries out the step. This step is very important when training tasks that might result in serious physical injury or death if not performed correctly.

Step 5- Conclusion: Recognize accomplishment: "Good job!” Reemphasize the importance of the procedure and how it fits into the overall process. Tie the training again to accountability by discussing the natural and system consequences of performance.

Step 6- Validate: After the conclusion of the OJT session, observe the employee perform in the actual workplace and question the employee to validate that the training has been successful and that the employee has adequate knowledge, skills, and a proper attitude about the work.

Step 7- Document: The well-known OSHA adage, "if it isn't in writing, it didn't get done," is true for any kind of safety training. For OJT training, documentation should be more than an attendance sheet.

To document the training, the trainee certifies:

  • training was accomplished
  • questions were answered
  • opportunities provided to do procedure
  • accountabilities understood
  • intent to comply

The instructor certifies the trainee has:

  • demonstrated adequate knowledge
  • developed the skills to complete the procedures

We have included a sample training certification in the final two sections of this module, and you can learn more about the OJT process in OSHAcademy Course 723.

Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines. OSHA's Training Requirements Guide. Here's a great booklet that covers many OSHA training requirements and also gives you some ideas on training strategies.

Safety and Health Work Observations

confined space

Safety and health work observations should be performed periodically by supervisors or designated observers. Observations may be conducted randomly in an informal program, or they may be planned when a formal observations program (Behavior Based Safety Program) is part of the CSMS.

Safety and health work observations ensure:

  • an employee has the knowledge to perform the work as trained
  • the employee is actually performing their work task safely

Specific observations or audits are especially critical for lockout/tagout, confined space, fall protection and other programs where the risk of exposure to hazards is high. Results should be documented and follow-up training should be provided as needed. This process helps assure safety and health training is effective.

OSHA Requirements

  • Train employees to recognize hazards [29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2), 29 CFR 1926.65, 29 CFR 1926.302(e), 29 CFR 1926.1060].
  • Train workers to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions [29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2), 29 CFR 1926.65, 29 CFR 1926.454, 29 CFR 1926.901(c)].
  • Provide training on safe work practices and applicable standards [29 CFR 1926.21(b)].
  • Provide training on safe operation of equipment and machinery [29 CFR 1926.20(b)(4), 29 CFR 1926.302(e)].
  • Provide training on hazards of access ladders and stairways [29 CFR 1926.1060(a), 29 CFR 1926.454, 29 CFR 1926.800(b) and (c)].
  • Provide training on confined and enclosed space entry hazards and precautions [29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6), 29 CFR 1926.353(b), 29 CFR 1926.801].

Click on the link to see a comprehensive list of OSHA training requirements.

Sample Training Certification - Page 1

Training Subject ____________________ Date _________ Location _______________

Trainee Certification of Training

I have received on-the-job training on those subjects listed (see other side of this sheet): This training has provided me adequate opportunity to ask questions and practice procedures to determine and correct skill deficiencies. I understand that performing these procedures/practices safely is a condition of employment. I fully intend to comply with all safety and operational requirements discussed. I understand that failure to comply with these requirements may result in progressive discipline (or corrective actions) up to and including termination.

Employee Name Signature Date
_______________ _______________ ___________
_______________ _______________ ___________

Trainer Certification of Competency

I have conducted orientation/on-the-job training to each employee listed above. I have explained related procedures, practices and policies. Each employee was given opportunity to ask questions and practice procedures in the learning environment. Based on each student's performance, I have determined that each employee trained has adequate knowledge and skills to safely perform these procedures/practices.

________________ ________________ _________________
Trainer Name Signature Date

Supervisor Certification of Competency

I observed/interviewed the above employees on __________ date(s). Each employee has demonstrated adequate knowledge and skills to safely perform all steps of the procedures/practices in the work environment (at their workstation, worksite, etc.).

________________ ________________ _________________
Supervisor Name Signature Date

Notice that supervisor certification of competency is included as part of the training document. This certification evaluates employee knowledge and skills in the actual work environment. Including this will help ensure employees are "fully qualified" to perform hazardous procedures and practices.

On the second page of the certification, information about the subjects, performance exercises, and tests is described.

Sample Training Certification - Page 2

The benefit of including this second page in the document is that it can also serve as a lesson plan for your training. The learning objects you've written will help you develop the list of subjects and performance exercises. It outlines the subjects and exercises that need to be conducted to make sure required training is accomplished.

The following information was discussed with students: (check all covered subjects)

  • ❏ Overview of the hazard communication program - purpose of the program
  • ❏ Discussion of the hazards of chemicals to which students will be exposed
  • ❏ Primary, secondary, portable, and stationary process container labeling requirements
  • ❏ Discussion of the 16 sections of the SDS and their location
  • ❏ Emergency and Spill procedures
  • ❏ First aid procedures
  • ❏ Symptoms of overexposure
  • ❏ Use/care of required personal protective equipment used with the above chemicals
  • ❏ Employee accountability

The following practice/performance exercises were conducted:

  • ❏ Spill procedures
  • ❏ Emergency procedures
  • ❏ Personal protective equipment use

The following written test was administered: (Or "Each student was asked the following questions:") (Keep these tests as attachments to the safety training plan and merely reference it here to keep this document on one sheet of paper)

  1. What are the labeling requirements of a secondary container? (name of chemical. and hazard warning)
  2. When does a container change from a portable to secondary container? (when employee loses control)
  3. What are the symptoms of overexposure to ___? (stinging eyes)
  4. Where is the "Right to Know" station (or SDS station) located? (in the production plant)
  5. What PPE is required when exposed to ___? (short answer)
  6. How do you clean the PPE used with ___? (short answer)
  7. What are the emergency procedures for overexposure to ___? (short answer)
  8. Describe spill procedures for ___. (short answer)
  9. When should you report any injury to your supervisor? (immediately)
  10. What are the consequences? if you do not follow safe procedures with this chemical (injury, illness, discipline)

Optional Video

This is a good video by Russell Hills on implementing and evaluating on-the-job training. Worth watching if you have the time. (19:07)


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

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1. The employer must inform employees on the _____ associated with toxic and hazardous substances to which employees may be exposed on the worksite.

2. Training length and level of detail should be determined by the severity of the hazards and _____.

3. Employees who perform work while on a scaffold must be trained by a _____.

4. Tool-box talks should include all of the following, except _____.

5. Specific observations or audits are especially critical for each of the following safety programs, except _____.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.