Published October 2021
Have you ever been trained on using a fire extinguisher? Shown a plan, much less trained, for an emergency at work? Your US employer is required by law to provide you with certain training and information. But if you live your whole life jumping from job to job, it’s unlikely your employers (as amazing as they may be) are going to decide that you are worth the cost to invest in – or they may not even realize they’re supposed to. This is just another angle of how our broken worker classification system fails workers.
Below you’ll learn some things that are required, why they are required, and who each applies to so you can decide what to do about it. Invest in yourself? Advocate for the organization to add it to their expenses? Live in blissful ignorance? (well… maybe not that last one…)
This article is more quick and dirty than we usually do. Hopefully, it is just enough to get you curious.
- Anti-Harassment Training
Who needs it? All US employees
Who requires it? Several states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and New York, but federal and state laws, regulations, EEOC, and court decisions have made clear that employers should provide this training to all employees in all states (citation).
What about it? Recipients, frequency, and scope of training are dependent on state laws or relevant regulations.
Why is it important? Hopefully, nobody wants to be a dick but sometimes we don’t know better. Employers are required to provide a workplace free from harassment and can be held liable if they do not take action to prevent or address it.
2. Employee Pre-hire Notice or Wage Notice
Who needs it? US Employees (dependent on state)
Who requires it? The Department of Labor in several states, including California, New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Minnesota.
What about it? It outlines clearly and concisely the financial terms of the work-agreement between employees and employer.
– Requirements: Must have before work begins and be signed by the employee.
Why is it important? Increases transparency and prevents some wage theft.
3. Hazard Communication Training and Database
Who needs it? US Employees who handle or otherwise may be exposed to hazardous chemicals.
Who requires it? OSHA 1910.1200
What about it? Chemical inventory, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), container labels, training, and a written program detailing all of the above.
– Safety Data Sheets: Provided and accessible for each hazardous chemical and kept updated.
– Training: Chemical and hazards types, what is included and how/why to read labels, safe storage requirements.
– Training frequency: First assignment and at the introduction of a new chemical hazard.
Why is it important? Label shorthands are not always obvious and chemicals sold are not always “safe.” Acute and chronic exposure to chemicals can cause bodily harm (up to and including death), property damage, and environmental impact.
4. Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and Fire Prevention Plan (FPP)
Who needs it? All US employees
Who requires it? OSHA 1910.38 and 1910.39
What about it? Includes evacuation, critical worker roles, head count, medical/rescue procedure, and reporting procedure.
– Requirements: If the employer has 11 or more employees, must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review.
– Training: Initially and every time it is updated.
Why is it important? In an emergency, we don’t often think rationally. If we have a plan, it reduces the need to make quick decisions.
5. Portable Fire Extinguisher Training
Who needs it? All US employees in a venue that has a portable fire extinguisher; especially workers near someone welding
Who requires it? OSHA 1910.157 and 1910.252
What about it?
– Training: General instruction, location of fire extinguishers, must include hands-on practice if specifically assigned fire duty.
– Training frequency: Initially and at least annually.
Why is it important? Not all fire extinguishers are appropriate for all fires or situations. Training will speed up reaction time which might save lives.
6. Protection from the Spread of COVID-19
UPDATE: US Supreme Court blocked the OSHA mandate on Jan 13th, 2022. The federal mandate still stands.
Who needs it? All US Federal contractors
and (as of Jan 10, 2022) all employers with 100+ employees.
Who requires it?
OSHA and President Biden
What about it?
– Requirements: Employers must know the vaccination status of employees and keep a copy of vaccine cards on file. Unvaccinated workers must have a uniquely approved special exemption, wear masks, and submit to at least weekly viral testing. Federal contractors must have a designated Covid Compliance Officer.
– (OSHA) Required information provided to employees.
(1) policies/procedures for implementation; (2) CDC’s “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines”; (3) information about retaliation/discrimination protections; and (4) information about criminal penalties for supplying false statements/documentation.
Why is it important? Reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the attendant disruptions to workplaces and society. Workers who do not comply can be fired.