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Training for Employees

NOTE: Additional information on safety training is coming soon.

Quarterly Safety Training

State law requires that all SWOSU employees, including student employees, receive safety training at least four times a year. Anybody receiving a paycheck through SWOSU falls under this requirement.

(One exception to this rule would be contractors who are paid for services through Payroll for short-term projects.)

The State Law

Because of concerns about the rising costs of Workers' Compensation in Oklahoma, the state legislature passed House Bill 1447 which revised state law (40 O.S., Section 403). The change incorporated a "quarterly safety training" requirement for all public employees. Below is the exact wording of that particular section, as well as the Department of Labor's Final rule pertaining to it in regards to safety training classes:

40 O.S. Section 403

E.   Every employer having twenty-five (25) or more full-time or part-time employees shall:

  1. Designate an employee who shall coordinate all safety programs of the employer;
  2. Provide safety classes to each type or class of employee no less than quarterly; and
  3. Cooperate with the Department of Labor including allowing any announced inspection of the premises for the purpose of determining compliance with this subsection.

From the Oklahoma State Department of Labor's Final Rule, 380:40-1-22 -- Safety Programs:

(a)  Definitions:

  1. "Safety Training" means instruction in safety and/or health and includes, but is not limited to, videos, audio tapes, books, brochures, handouts, slides, classroom instruction or lectures, and in-service training such as tailgate sessions.
  2. "Safety Coordinator" means an employee who has been designated by an employer to coordinate all safety programs of the employer.
  3. "Safety Programs" means those employer activities that:
    (A) Implement management, leadership, and employee involvement;
    (B) Implement procedures for identifying and controlling workplace hazards;
    (C) Develop and communicate safety plans, rules and work procedures; and
    (D) Conduct or provide for training for all employees in safe and healthful work practices.
  4. "Type or class of employee" means the occupation, activity, standard industry designation or other characteristic of employees that has a bearing on the nature or extent of workplace hazards to which they are or may be exposed.

(b)  Duties (of the Safety Coordinator) must include responsibility for the four key elements of a safety program (described above).

(c)  Written safety programs shall be developed that are appropriate to the worksite(s) and the nature of hazards encountered by the employees and that meet requirements of the standards adopted in 380:40. This includes all required program reviews and documentation required by these standards.

(d)  Appropriate safety training shall be provided to all employees, including management, no less than quarterly. Documentation of training shall include, but not be limited to, date(s), location, course information, course provider/trainer and a list of employees in attendance. Any additional information required by any specific standard shall also be included. Provisions must be made to arrange for make-up sessions for those employees who were not able to attend the scheduled training.

Training Requirements

As a result of Workers' Compensation reform, state law now requires that all SWOSU employees, including student employees, receive safety training at least four times a year. Anybody receiving a paycheck through SWOSU falls under this requirement. (The only exception to this rule might be contractors who are paid for services through Payroll for short-term projects.)

The object of the law is to reduce the number of accidents occurring, thereby reducing the amount and cost of Workers' Compensation claims being processed by the state (and paid for by taxpayers). The law is designed to help employees by providing them with the information necessary to do their jobs safely, as well as by reducing the amount of money being spent by the state on Workers' Compensation claims.

The Department of Labor (DOL) states that quarterly safety training must be "Appropriate to the nature and severity of the hazards faced by the employee." In other words, somebody in a high-hazard work environment such as a laboratory would need more training than somebody who works in an office. Fortunately, the DOL does not set specific time requirements for the amount of training to be given, leaving a great deal of leeway as to how these quarterly requirements may be met.

In practical terms this means that an employee who is not at high risk for injury could count an information flyer or wellness newsletter as quarterly training. This might apply to office workers, for example. However, somebody who works in a laboratory would need additional training, because laboratories involve greater hazards. This additional training could consist of simply handing out an information sheet about the proper storage of compressed gas cylinders.

All safety training must be documented with date, subject, and the persons receiving the training.

Goals & Objectives of Quarterly Safety Training

  • Reduce worker's compensation claims costs by educating employees in safe work practices and heightening safety awareness.
  • Help provide a safer work environment for all employees through education.
  • Foster good relations between employer and employees.
  • Provide quarterly training for all university employees in compliance with state law.

Sources of Training Material

For some employees, online training will suffice to meet their quarterly safety training requirements. 

However, this will NOT be considered sufficient training for the following employees:

Employees who have limited or no access to a computer.

Employees in the following "high risk" jobs:

  • Lab workers
  • Police officers
  • Printing press operators
  • Housekeepers / custodians / janitors
  • Heavy equipment operators (tractors, dumptrucks, backhoes, etc.)
  • Cafeteria / bakery / kitchen workers / cooks
  • Maintenance workers (plumbers, electricians, HVAC, repair workers, etc.)
  • Warehouse workers
  • Groundskeepers / agronomists / landscapers
  • Carpenters
  • Painters
  • Pesticide applicators
  • Welders
  • Machine shop operators
  • Mechanics
  • Drum handlers
  • Forklift operators
  • Construction workers
  • Packaging / materials handling workers
  • Drivers (primary job description of "driving," such as delivery drivers)

Employees who are exposed to the following hazards:

  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Heavy / repetitive lifting or bending
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy equipment (tractors, backhoes, dumptrucks, etc.)
  • Grinders, lathes, drill presses, saws, chainsaws, band saws, etc.
  • Machinery with exposed moving parts such as presses, belts, gears & pulleys
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Chemicals (other than those normally found in office situations)
  • Hot / Cold environments

Employees who are at high risk for cumulative trauma disorders:

  • Departments with multiple reports of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, CTDs, or back injuries.

* Class rosters are probably the most efficient way to document safety training classes.