Certification Questions

We're often asked if our safety and rescue classes are 'certified by OSHA' or if you take a class will you be 'certified'?

I usually respond by saying that if you complete the class you'll receive a certificate and you'll be awarded continuing education units (CEUs). But will that make you 'certified' in the normal sense of the word? Not really.

When it comes to most types of safety or rescue training, the only entity that can certify someone as a competent person, a confined space entrant, a forklist operator, or a member of a rescue team is the employer. They are the ones who make sure you have been trained properly, have the right equipment and they are the ones who develop and enforce the company policies.

In addition, much of our training is site-specific, which means that we train to an employers specific work environments and procedures. Another employer may have a completely different set of hazards and control procedures that they need  their workers trained to. So receiving training in one work environment doesn't mean that you're competent in all work environments.

So with the exception of First Aid/CPR, HAZWOPER and a few other topics, there really aren't independent agencies that run around and stamp a seal of approval on people who complete certain safety and rescue classes. And this is how it should be.

The way I look at it is, if OSHA shows up and you're doing everything right, they don't care if you have a wallet card or wall certificate that says you've been trained. And if you're doing everything wrong, again, it doesn't matter what classes you've taken. The point is that it's always the employer's responsibility to make sure that people are doing the job the right way, which means that they are following best practices, common sense and their location's policies and procedures.

As training professionals, we help employers achieve these goals.

Jim Johnson August 26, 2016

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