Everyone wants to be certified. To be certified means that an body of experts has recognized your mastery of some stated, specified contextual information. It is a crowning achievement.
So surely you want to be OSHA Certified right? You want that framed certificate with a gold stamp that indicates your are recognized as an expert in the field of safety. And you hear, it only takes a few hours, and what’s more you can do it online. Perfect!
Not so fast!
Truthfully, there actually is no such thing as “OSHA Certification”, or being “OSHA Certified”. In fact, OSHA does not “Certify” anyone for anything!
What OSHA does require is for employers to insure their employees get trained on specific topics, and then “Certify” (or document) that they have received the training, per OSHA standards.
In addition, OSHA developed OSHA training courses, called the OSHA-10 Hour and 30-hour Outreach Training Classes, which are conducted by trainers who are “authorized” (not certified) by OSHA to teach the classes, and who then provides an OSHA wallet card to the student that “verifies” the trainee attended the course. A student may also take the 10 or 30-hour class on-line through an OSHA-accepted training course provider. Again, having the wallet card does not mean that you are “OSHA Certified”, it just verifies that you completed an official OSHA 10-hour or 30-hour Outreach Training Course.
Periodically, OSHA evaluates online suppliers of video training for these Outreach Courses, and then designates those companies as OSHA-Accepted to provide that training. Students that receive that training from an OSHA-Accepted supplier and pass the exam, are eligible for the Department of Labor Wallet Card signifying their accomplishment. They are NOT OSHA-Certified, however. The DOL Wallet Card may, by state law, be required to work at some job sites, but under no circumstances does the card bestow any level of “certification”.
Now this should NOT be confused with those individuals who have studied extensively in the area of safety, and have becorme Certified Safety Professionals (CSP). The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) is a certification offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionsals (BCSP). The CSP is accredited in the United States by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and internationally by the International Organization for Standardization/Internation Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). These organizations have no direct association with OSHA, NIOSH or any other regulatory body. The requirements for such a designation are strict and rigorous. CSPs must have an associate’s degree in safety and health, or an accredited bachelor’s degree in any field. They must have four or more years of professional safety experience. and then they must pass the Safety Fundamentals and/or Comprehensive Practice examinations.
So the next time you hear about being OSHA Certified, or how you can receive you OSHA Certification, you might want to check the authenticity of the organization. No one can receive any such certification from OSHA.