At a Glance
Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center (NWCTC) offers the OSHA 30-Hour safety training to students in construction/manufacturing programs. Upon successful completion of the course, students have a credential highly sought after by area employers and contractors.
Approximately five years ago, several members of the HVAC Occupational Advisory Committee recommended that NWCTC offer students the opportunity to take the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) 30-hour safety course, stating that it would give students a better chance of employment. For instance, the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 12 requires employees to have the 30-hour card. Because of the OAC request and the Union requirement, NWCTC began preparations to offer students the OSHA 30-hour safety course.
OSHA provides students with training focused on common safety and health hazards on the job. (See www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/.) At the end of the training, students receive a course completion card. OSHA offers a 10-hour training program and a 30-hour program, both of which focus on worksite safety. The 10-hour program is geared towards entry-level workers and personal worksite safety while the 30-hour training goes into greater depth and provides a variety of training. It extends beyond looking at the safety of the individual worker and also focus on system safety. The training includes strategies to manage and run safe worksites and addresses administrative duties such as setting up valid safety plans.
To offer the OSHA 30-hour safety training, NWCTC needed a trained instructor to teach the course. Mr. Robert Myers, the HVAC instructor, attended a five-day session for OSHA trainers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. At that time, PDE paid for the training of any CTE instructor who would attend on his or her own time during the summer. When he later became reauthorized, which is required every four years, NWCTC paid for the class and he attended on his own time.
NWCTC first offered the training program during the 2016-17 school year to interested seniors; juniors may also enroll if space is available. Students must be recommended by their CTE instructor and must sign a letter of understanding stating that if they miss any of the sessions, fail to participate or do not demonstrate content understanding, they will not earn the 30-hour card. NWCTC pays for the training course for all students. Participants receive a 100-page text, course outline and the training schedule. Students are required to pay an $8.00 fee to receive the course completion card.
The program includes 16 hours of mandatory training that addresses a variety of topics such as Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment, Stairways and Ladders, and Fall Protection. In the past, Mr. Myers invited a guest speaker to demonstrate different types of fall protection, and OSHA compliance officers also have presented to the students. For the 2018 training, instructors who have students participating in the OSHA training will teach some integrated lessons that focus on skills beneficial to students. The carpentry instructor will present a lesson on insulating and framing practices, and the welding instructor will teach a lesson on torch cutting and gas metal arc welding.
The training used to take place over 15, two-hour classes. For the 2017-2018 school year, the training is scheduled to occur over six, five-hour sessions. Mr. Myers changed the schedule because students seemed to forget a lot of information between sessions when they were spread out over a longer time period. He also anticipates that the new schedule will help address attendance issues.
NWCTC has identified two primary challenges in its efforts to offer the OSHA training; the greatest of these is coordinating sessions so that they align with the schedules of sending schools. Another challenge is to provide students in the lower grades with planned activities while Mr. Myers teaches the course. Currently, these students are supported by para-professionals and continue to complete their educational modules in the lab area, but the CTC is looking at other possible solutions.
NWCTC plans to continue offering the 30-hour OSHA training. Administrators credit the dedication of Mr. Myers and his willingness to stay current on and complete OSHA requirements for the success of the program. They recommend that CTCs that want to offer the OSHA 30-hour training course make sure there is a committed instructor and wide support among the administration.
Of the 40 students who signed up for the safety training during the 2016-2017 school year, 26 successfully completed the course and earned their safety card. Although no follow-up studies have been completed yet, area employers are highly supportive of the program and request that the program continue.
Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center
Kurt Kiefer, Administrative Director