5 Essential Site Safety Training Topics for Your Worksite

October 21, 2022

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Key Takeaways

Learn about different site safety training topics to keep your workers safe —including a closer look at how NYC is leading a new era of worksite safety—and how a site camera system enhances your safety training.

Many worksites such as construction sites, warehouses, and yards can pose significant safety risks for employees, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to offer proper safety training, maintain a safe workplace, and participate in investigations when incidents do occur. Federal agencies like OSHA—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—as well as local regulations ensure workplace conditions across all industries are safe and proper training is provided to employees.

The importance of strict safety protocols can’t be overstated—on average, there are 15 worker fatalities per day in the U.S., with 20% of those from the construction industry, according to OSHA. New York City was experiencing some of the highest worker incident rates in the U.S., leading them to implement Local Law 196 in 2017 which requires extensive site safety training for construction and demolition workers. This guide will take a closer look at how you can supplement your own safety training program with targeted topics and onsite cameras, and NYC’s efforts as a safety training benchmark.

What is a site safety training course? 

Site safety training typically refers to the construction industry due to the large number of risks associated with the work—heavy machinery, heights, and hazardous materials, to name a few. 

When building a training program, site safety managers take into consideration local and federal regulations, such as those established by OSHA, as well as supplemental topics and courses their workers can benefit from. Specialized site safety training courses equip construction supervisors and workers with the knowledge and skills to keep worksites as safe as possible, and what action to take when hazards are present. 

5 essential site safety training topics

Depending on the industry and job function, OSHA sets training requirements for both supervisors and workers to complete. Along with requiring a certificate of completion, refresher courses could be part of your specific training requirements. 

There are many training courses offered through OSHA and third-party programs that are applicable to most industries and serve as a good starting point for a safety manager’s training program.

  1. Fall prevention training: One of the most regulated and important training topics in the construction industry is fall prevention training—39% of construction fatalities are from falls. Employers of construction sites must train workers on construction safety and fall prevention, including necessary PPE such as personal fall arrest systems for scaffold users. One example of this training is NYC’s Local Law 196 which requires 8-hour fall prevention training for construction workers that operate at heights. 

  2. HAZWOPER training: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response is a set of guidelines from OSHA regulating hazardous waste management and related emergency services and procedures. This training is required for managers and workers who either directly or indirectly—such as utility workers—encounter hazardous material and waste. Required individuals must complete an initial 20- or 40-hour training and an annual 8-hour refresher course.

  3. OSHA 10- or OSHA 30-hour training: While this OSHA training is not federally mandated, it provides general knowledge on safety practices, hazard recognition, and proactive safety behavior. Also called Outreach Training, many local governments, like New York City, require this training for all levels of employees. NYC’s Local Law 196 requires an additional step—workers at job sites must designate a construction superintendent, site safety coordinator, or site safety manager to receive 30 hours of site safety training. 

  4. PPE training: Personal protective equipment (PPE) training is necessary for many industries from healthcare to construction, and varies greatly based on your workplace hazards. Depending on your industry and job function, PPE can include eye and face protection, respiratory protection, and fall protection equipment, as defined by OSHA in this set of standards. For example, a concrete safety manager will train workers on appropriate hard hat, eyewear, and glove use before starting a job.  

  5. Drug and alcohol awareness training: Understandably, all industries from construction to general industry can benefit from drug and alcohol awareness training to maintain positive and safe worksites operated by competent persons. While OSHA does not define training standards for this area, many companies elect to train their teams about working onsite without the use of drugs and alcohol. One example of voluntary action is NYC’s Local Law 196 mandating all workers to be certified with a 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness training. 

New York City: leading by example

OSHA’s safety regulations go a long way in keeping workers safe but some local governments are taking additional steps to protect their workers. One such locality is New York City—they are investing in keeping construction workers safe with the innovative Local Law 196 for site safety training (SST). It requires all construction and demolition workers employed within the five boroughs of NYC to receive a minimum of 40 hours of SST training while supervisors are required to receive a minimum of 62 hours of SST training. These required training courses must be authorized by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) and appear on the list of authorized SST Training providers. After the SST courses are completed, verified documentation is issued to workers as an SST card that must be present at job sites. 

Additional NYC DOB courses required for construction workers: 

  •  2-hour site safety plan: Required for workers seeking a 62-hour SST supervisor card that teaches the basics of site safety plans—worker safety expectations, regulatory requirements, and specialized NYC DOB standards.

  • 2-hour tool box talks: Required awareness training for all workers’ SST card certification about communicating effectively about worksites, hazards, and general project information.

  • 8-hour site safety manager refresher: Required for site safety manager renewal and may help other workers meet their individual training requirements.

When NYC rolled out Local Law 196 in 2017, adoption was slow—training deadlines had to be extended and intentionally noncompliant worksites had to be addressed. Fast forward to the DOB’s 2021 Construction Safety Report—incidents are down by 40% and fatalities are down by 30% from 2018. These improvements are largely attributed to the increased safety training requirements of Local Law 196. 

After seeing impressive safety developments in NYC, New York state followed suit with additional OSHA training requirements for workers. Since then, nine additional states have implemented more robust safety training programs, requiring OSHA 10- or 30-hour training for most construction workers. 

OSHA Training Map

How site cameras improve safety training

Complex site operations, such as with warehouses and construction, require both extensive initial training as well as ongoing training as worksites evolve or incidents occur. Installing a site camera system, like Samsara Site Visibility, helps safety managers gain complete visibility into operations in a couple of ways. First, once workers have completed their required OSHA trainings and any supplemental trainings, site safety managers can use the footage from onsite cameras to inform continued training customized to the processes and hazards of their worksite. Second, remote visibility allows site safety managers to proactively ensure proper protocols are followed and have additional safety accountability from anywhere.  

Samsara Site Visibility not only provides a 360-degree view into onsite operations but layers on AI features within a single Connected Operations Platform to:

  • Deliver impactful, relevant safety training material through the coaching library

  • Identify areas for improvement with AI-powered alerts and remote visibility

  • Reward and share exemplary safety behavior with on-demand video retrieval

  • Reduce workers’ compensation claims with intelligent search and streamlined incident review 

Contact us today to learn how Site Visibility keeps your workplace safe and streamlines incident review.

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