General industry or construction? OSHA 10 or OSHA 30? What training do I need?

John Sherman


For anyone working in the construction industry, not only is training important but also mandated in some situations. For this particular arena, workers must follow compliance laws established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This government agency’s sole purpose is to set and enforce standards that keep people safe and healthy on the job. Although the regulations apply to multiple industries, they’re critical for construction.

Along with required training are voluntary programs. The challenge a lot of people have is knowing what training they need. After all, there are numerous programs and sub-programs. The good news is you can complete a host of courses online through a reputable Learning Management System or LMS. Virtually everything you need training on this system provides.

Because the duration of most courses is short and the cost is nominal, you can take as much training as you want. Along with staying compliant with OSHA regulations, online training gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge base and hone existing skills.

Regardless of your position or the type of construction company you work for, the more you learn, the better you perform, and the safer and healthier the work environment becomes.

General Industry Versus Construction

As someone involved in the construction industry, you need to determine the appropriate courses. For instance, do you need general industry training or training that focuses specifically on construction? For the answer to this question, learn the differences between the two.

General Industry Training

As part of the OSHA Outreach Training Program, this voluntary program promotes both safety and health in the workplace. By completing it, you gain tremendous knowledge about things relating to the construction industry, including hazards.

Keep in mind this particular program doesn’t fulfill the OSHA standards, meaning your employer needs to ensure you have additional training. Initiated almost 50 years ago, the popularity of this program has skyrocketed in recent years.

As reported by the OSHA, people who work in the thriving construction industry want opportunities to learn. For the Outreach Training program alone, OSHA estimated that nearly 4 million people completed training during the four-year period ending in 2016.

The formula for General Industry training specifically focuses on workers. You would learn how to recognize, avoid, abate, and prevent hazards in the workplace. Also, this program covers basic information as to your rights, the responsibilities of your employer, and if necessary, the proper steps to take in filing a claim.

General Industry training provides several key benefits, including:

  • Promotes a safe and healthy work environment
  • Provides hands-on activities
  • Focus tailors to your specific needs

Authorized trainers provide General Industry training as part of the OSHA Outreach Training program. While not certified, these individuals have extensive knowledge of and expertise in construction and the best way to deliver the program, so people understand how to apply it.

Construction Training

This training is also a part of the OSHA Outreach Training program that is designed for the construction industry. As with General Industry training, you would learn how to identify, avoid, abate, and prevent both health and safety hazards in the workplace. You would also become educated about your rights, the responsibilities of your employer, and the proper way to file a complaint.

For this program, you must finish a minimum of 10.25 hours of training along with supplemental material. Whether you work as a construction worker, site inspector, foreman, or job supervisor, you should take this program.

Construction training also focuses on OSHA industry standards on a federal level, although the program does not meet OSHA standards. Some of the other things you would learn to identify from this program include:

  • Fall hazards
  • Major health hazards
  • Caught-in or between hazards
  • Struck-by hazards
  • Power and hand tool hazards
  • Ways to protect yourself from material handling hazards
  • Role your management plays in improving the current work environment
  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment

Both General Industry and Construction training are part of the OSHA Outreach Training Program with an emphasis on creating a safer and healthier work environment. Especially in construction, workers face potential risks daily. Therefore, it is essential you complete the proper training to reduce or eliminate potential hazards.

OSHA 10 Versus OSHA 30

For the OSHA Outreach Training program, there are two options, a 10- and 30-hour course. If your employer determines you need health and safety training, he or she will go with either the 10- or 30-hour option depending on various factors. While both cover many of the same topics, the primary difference is with the 30-hour option; you receive 20 more hours of training. Remember, it’s your employer’s responsibility to understand the differences and select the right one.

A lot of people in the construction industry prefer to go for the 30-hour OSHA training course. The reason is the instructor has more time to spend on individual subjects. However, things like your job responsibilities, as well as the type of construction company where you work will determine if this is the right course.

After all, the term “construction” covers different types of companies, including:

  • Owners / Builders
  • Real Estate Developers
  • Construction Management
  • General Contractors
  • Package Builders

For each of these, there are “sub-categories” like:

  • Chemical
  • Manufacturing
  • Paper
  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Power
  • Cement
  • Rigging
  • Pipe installation
  • Mining
  • Excavation

10-Hour Training

  • Hazardous Materials
  • Materials Handling
  • Introduction to Industrial Hygiene
  • Machine Guarding
  • Ergonomics
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Fall Protection
  • Safety and Health Programs

30-Hour Training

  • Hazardous Materials (Mandatory for the 30-hour training program)
  • Lockout / Tagout
  • Confined Space
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Welding
  • Fire Protection Essentials

Along with the 10- and 30-hour courses, you can take advantage of additional training through a reputable Learning Management System. By choosing the right platform, you can select from hundreds of different topics, developed by industry experts and presented in different forms such as videos, podcasts, and articles.

Especially for someone in the construction industry, regardless of the size of the employer, the specific field, or the job performed, completing health and safety training is highly beneficial. With so many unknowns, it’s better to prepare yourself than to face an accident that causes injury or worse.

After finishing either course, you would take an exam with a passing grade set at 70 percent. If you pass, you’ll receive the respective OSHA Outreach Training program card.

The Bottom Line

From a construction perspective, the structure between General Industry and Construction training remains much the same although the topics differ. Another key difference is with the 30-hour program, some topics are mandatory. One of the most significant benefits of taking either course is the authorized trainer has the discretion to customize it.

The goal with both the General Industry and Construction program, whether you complete the 10- or 30-hour course, is to become more knowledgeable and educated about critical factors related to the field of construction. Sure, having a card showing you completed training is nice but more importantly, you’ll contribute to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

When you consider every year, thousands of workers die on the job and even more sustain severe injuries, it’s essential you have the appropriate training. If your employer doesn’t offer you an opportunity to take the OSHA Outreach Training program, ask. Not only will this benefit you, but also the company. The fewer the injuries and illnesses the less liability for your employer.

By keeping people safe and healthy on the job, production increases, which generates more revenue. Finished products also ensure customer satisfaction, which gives your employer’s reputation a boost, something important in a fiercely competitive industry.

Supplemental Online Training

Although the OSHA Outreach Training program doesn’t meet OSHA standards, it’s highly complementary. The same goes for the additional online courses you take from a respected and trusted Learning Management System platform. While they may not meet the strict standards set and enforced by OSHA, they help you increase your knowledge base.

Following are just a few examples of the online courses currently available. However, to keep up with worker demand and an ever-changing industry, the system adds new courses all the time. Remember, you can complete both the 10- and 30-hour course using the right Learning Management System platform.

  • OSHA Safety Pro: Personal Protective Equipment
  • OSHA Control of Hazardous Energy and Lock Out / Tag Out
  • OSHA Electrical General Requirements
  • OSHA Record-keeping
  • OSHA Outreach Training – General Industry 30-Hour Course
  • Work Health and Safety
  • Contractor Safety Management
  • Fire Prevention in the Workplace

As shown by the examples provided, you can complete the full 10- or 30-hour training program or take segments of each. Regardless of the direction you go, you’ll find all courses have affordable prices. Also, because there’s no deadline on completing any of the courses, you won’t feel any stress to rush, which allows you to absorb the information better. If preferred, you can take online training courses from the comfort and privacy of your home.

Superior LMS

Go1 is a highly regarded Learning Management System that offers an abundance of OSHA and non-OSHA courses specific to the construction industry. Our goal is to provide people what they need to enjoy a safe and healthy work environment. Industry experts develop and sometimes present all our courses. For that reason, you learn from the best.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
Latest stories and insights