Safety certifications, you say? Operating and managing an effective team (safely) is vital to the operations of most businesses. Unless you’re running a solopreneur enterprise, you need good people on your side, helping to move the business forward. That’s why training your team members on the proper safety certifications is vital to your operational success.
Some safety certifications are mandatory, depending on the size of your labor force. However, many certifications are also available beyond the standard requirements that can aid your company with growth, development, efficiency, and safety.
Today we’re going to review the top 12 safety certifications you might want your staff to have to increase your company’s safety awareness and safe practices and even improve overall worksite safety at your business.
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What Industry Safety Certifications Should Your Staff Have?
We can’t just start by saying everyone needs these “X” certificates. As well as I do, you know that every industry has its own set of challenges and thus its own set of prerequisite certifications. However, in the US, OSHA has set out some fairly clear, if not lengthy, standards:
The standards set out by the OSHA can apply to most industries, and therefore we’ll address the general industry’s training and safety certification requirements. If you don’t want to comb through the 270-page reference manual the OSHA provides, then keep reading for our summary, at least for the general industry.
General Industry Safety Training Requirements
Emergency Action Plan – As per 29 CFR 1910.38
- Less than ten employees – plan may be presented orally to more than ten employees, and it must be in writing.
- Procedures and, therefore, training is required for emergencies at work. If it’s as simple as evacuating in a calm and orderly fashion, you still need to plan and train your staff on the process. Obviously, with equipment or other things that could be critical to operating until the last moment, the procedures and training will be all the more complicated. Still, the procedures must exist, and you must train your staff accordingly. The OSHA has more to say about the training:
- Training. An employer must designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees.
- Standards also call for fire evacuation, and related procedures are mandatory to include in your training and emergency action plan.
The OSHA stresses many more training requirements, focusing on hazards, hazard prevention, identification, and required training for staff. The list is excellent, but the basics include procedures and training for the following:
- Exit Routes and Emergency Planning
- Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work Platforms
- Occupational Health and Environmental Control
- Hazardous Materials
- Personal Protective Equipment
- General Environmental Controls
- Medical Services and First Aid
- Fire Protection
- Materials Handling and Storage
- Machinery and Machine Guarding
- Welding, Cutting, and Brazing
- Special Industries
- Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices
- Commercial Diving Operations
- Toxic and Hazardous Substances
To access each section within the OSHA, click here.
If you don’t feel like reading through the 270-page document, you might want to hire or train a staff member to do the dirty work. You can find several valuable programs for staff to take and provide you with the course of action needed to meet minimum safe operational functionality.
Aside from the many other possible standards, including ANSI, NFPA, or many others, most standards are rooted in common sense and thus not hard to comprehend.
Let’s jump into some of those training programs or courses mentioned above, starting with the non-degree safety certifications.
Safety Certifications (Non-Degree Based)
Safety certifications that can be taken on weekends, part-time, online, or even in the classroom but do not require a university degree are the most common safety certifications used in established businesses to forward their workforce safety training.
Why bother improving your workforce safety through training courses? Because a business is as good as the sum collective of its workforce. Ergo, a well-trained workforce is a well-trained company. And it never hurts to decrease risk exposure through an educated and safety cautious workforce.
Let’s explore some of the safety certifications you can get for your staff without requiring them to enroll in a university. After, we’ll look at a few degree-based certifications that you might want to consider hiring someone with, depending on your business’s situation.
Safety Management Specialist (SMS)
These specialists are trained in risk management. They are purposely trained in incident investigation as well as emergency preparedness.
Having someone on your team with this designation allows you to have someone who can work through the training requirements and aid you in building a company safety training policy.
Prerequisite: Ten years of experience in safety management with a minimum of 35% directly about safety management. (source)
Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician (OHST)
The OHST certifies that the certified individual is an expert in worksite safety assessments, risk assessments, hazard controls, and evaluating risk and hazard management controls and procedures.
The OHST is the certification you want someone on your team to develop and maintain a robust health and safety policy for compliance and preventive hazard management.
Prerequisite: Applicants must work full or part-time in health or safety with a 35% minimum employment time in those fields required. The applicant must also have three years of experience in health and safety. (source)
ISO 45001 Certification
Prerequisite: Company must apply as a whole organization, not individually.
ISO, or the International Standards Organization, is committed to providing a baseline for standards of business practices. The ISO 45001 certification deals with Health and Safety. It is a measure of not only the compliance of an organization but it’s also a testament to the professionalism and organization of the business operations. The ISO standard is difficult to achieve. It requires the company to look in the mirror regarding its standards, safety procedures, and how they document and conduct its business. Companies with an ISO rate assure the world that they meet or exceed the demanding compliance standards.
This standardized certification is a great way to know a company is managed according to international standards. Although ISO 45001 applies to health and safety, other ISO standards, such as the ISO 27001 standard, show a company has a standardized Information Security management system in place. This ISO rating helps people know that companies like emmAppetizer Inc. (the creators of 1st Incident Reporting – A mobile cloud-based platform for business reporting needs) are doing more to ensure security.
And in the case of ISO 45001, its health and safety are managed with the top international standards. Due to the internationally recognized trust and authority built by an ISO certification, it’s no wonder many companies strive to include the certification within their scope of operational goals. (source)
OSHA Training Courses
If you aren’t sure what training your company needs and you don’t want to read the 270-page OSHA manual, then you can jump into one of the no-prerequisite courses to learn what you need at your organization.
The OSHA has all kinds of courses you can find here, but we recommend starting with one of the following, depending on your industry.
Safety Certifications (Degree-Based)
Operating in larger organizations, or even in medium-sized businesses, means that you’ve probably got an entire department focused on health and safety. When you start having permanent positions focused on at least 25% of their time on safety, it might be time that you hire only those who have professional schooling and certification in safety for those types of roles.
With the currently available designations for safety professionals, there are several tiers of certification you can look for when hiring those with post-secondary education specializing in the field of safety.
The prerequisites for each tier show the level of experience that the safety professional would have (at minimum). This way, you can quickly check your experience via the level of safety certification obtained when following your hiring process.
Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
Prerequisite: You need an associate or bachelor’s degree and one year of experience in a role where 50% of the time was spent with safety. (source)
Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP)
Prerequisite: Certified Safety Professional designation within six years of obtaining experience requirements. (source)
Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
Prerequisite: You need a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of four years of safety experience, and an Associate Safety Professional (ASP) designation. (source)
Choosing staff training to expand your team’s knowledge and ability is vital to an ever-changing business environment. That’s why it’s vital to your operational success to have plans in place for further certifications of your staff or team.
Certifications and furthering education should be lifelong goals for many in the business world aspiring for success. Utilizing your ability to affect the outcome of your operations, you can decide for yourself which training would best suit your business. However, always ensure your training programs are in good standing with the standards set forth by the OSHA, ISO, or whatever legislative body presides over work standards and so forth where you operate.
While considering upgrading your workforce’s education, certification, and other aspects, you might also want to consider upgrading your reporting, auditing, and inspection platform or processes. Using a platform like the 1st Reporting System (whose creator is ISO certified) will help your staff by enhancing the automation of their workflow and expediting a much more efficient reporting process within your organization. Much like how a certified safety professional will enhance your safety processes and procedures, so too will 1st help your process efficiency. Find out more here.