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.
The workforce training centers within California Community Colleges 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 Workplace Safety Training a Popular Choice for Employers
Chaffey College’s InTech Center is just one of the many employee training 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/OSHAstandards, 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 College also delivers 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.
Offers Other Workplace Safety Trainings
In addition to the OSHA training, Cerritos College offers food safety training for food manufacturer that ensures compliance 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 safety trainings provided by the colleges 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 our real strength is our ability to quickly customize a program to meet an employer’s specific needs ,” Fox said.
California Employers May Be Eligible for Workplace Safety Training Funding
California employers may be eligible for Employment Training Panel (ETP) funding that helps offset the cost of workplace safety training.
ETP is the state’s premier program supporting job creation and retention through training. ETP fulfills its mission by reimbursing the cost of employer-driven training for incumbent workers and funding training for unemployed workers, which is designed to help them re-enter the workforce. Contact your local Community College Workforce Training Center to find out if you are eligible for funding.
About UpSkill California
The UpSkill California consortium is composed of more than 30 California Community Colleges that deliver customized employee training and workplace education via Workforce Training & Development Centers (WTDC). The Centers receive support from the Employment Training Panel (ETP)—a state agency that provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training. ETP funding helps off-set the costs of job skills training necessary to maintain high-performance workplaces.
To help businesses manage and administer the complexities of ETP contracts, several of our college members are designated as Multiple Employment Contract (MEC) holders. Those colleges also assist other consortium members in procuring ETP contracts for their clients, thus expanding the geographic area served by ETP. Colleges that are MECs are identified in the list below. Non-designated colleges subcontract with MEC colleges to procure ETP funding for their clients.