There is a place for safety experience, safety certifications, training, and safety awareness in every job but in blue-collar jobs this is even more important.
Why? 20% of worker deaths in the United States are in blue-collar fields, even though these workers only make up 6% of the U.S. labor force (BLS). The numbers do not lie, workers in construction and other related industries are at higher risk of incidents/accidents on the job. That is why it is important for these workers and their employers to prioritize safe work behavior by emphasizing safety training.
This article will highlight the top safety certifications that blue-collar professionals should look to obtain. Whether you are in a safety role or not, these certifications are designed to make blue-collar workers more safety conscious and look great on your resume. Explore which safety certifications and training you should add to your training records, read below:
Table of Contents
Click to Jump to Each Section:
- Why Should I Get a Safety Certification?
- Which Safety Certification is Right for Me?
- Top Safety Certifications
- Top Priority Safety Certifications: Which Should I Obtain First?
- The Importance of Up-To-Date Safety Certifications & The Risk of Expired Training
Why Should I Get a Safety Certification?
Pursuing a career in safety?
Looking to expand your knowledge or skills?
Want to land that next job?
There are many reasons why one might want to explore safety training and obtaining safety certifications. Expanding your training records and introducing safety focussed certifications will help your career in a variety of ways. But, on top of all the career-based benefits, safety certifications are designed to protect you and those around you – which we think is a good reason to invest the time/money in training.
Here is what to consider when looking to expand your safety knowledge and getting new safety certifications:
- Career aspirations: Will this get me further in my career?
- Cost of training: How much does this cost and what is the ROI (return on investment)?
- Bandwidth/time available for training: How long will this take and do I have time?
- Requirements from your employer: Does my employer require this training?
- Requirements of a new job: Does the job I am applying for require this training?
- Regulatory requirements: Does the state/region require me to have this training?
- Your own interests: Does this training excite me, and will I find it interesting?
It is up to you to decide whether training is right for you, but in many cases additional safety training will (quite literally) not hurt you in any blue-collar field. A big decision-criteria for all blue-collar professionals are the cost of training, but in many cases safety training courses are covered by your employer. If you are looking at expanding your safety knowledge with a new safety certificate, ask your employer if they will help carry the costs to enroll you in the course(s).
Which Safety Certification is Right for Me?
Safety certifications are for everyone but depending on your level or experience or your role at a company you might want to consider specific training/courses. Choosing which safety certifications, a worker needs might depend on a few factors:
- Level of Experience
- Role Responsibilities (Safety-Related / Non-Safety Related)
- Formal Education
First off, all workers should start with basic safety training courses like CPR or First Aid training. From there, workers can advance their knowledge into more general courses like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-Hour course. After many of the basic prerequisite safety courses are completed, it would be appropriate to advance your safety knowledge by obtaining an OHST or CSM designation.
The infographic below will walk you through which training courses you need to consider depending on your skill level, experience, knowledge, role, and education. Click the image below to download the infographic:
Top Safety Certifications
This section focuses on the safety certifications the blue-collar workers should obtain, for the full list of certifications you might want to check out this post:
>>> Top Construction Certifications to Build Blue-Collar Careers
The following list of construction certifications are safety related but varies in the level of detail or curriculum that each certification course will cover. For example, a first-aid course is a construction certification that all construction workers should obtain on their resume, but not all workers need their OHST certification. These certifications are designed to build safety professionals’ careers but can be useful for all workers looking to expand their construction safety focussed knowledge.
Listed below are construction safety certifications that construction professionals will want to consider:
Entry Level (Non-Role Specific) Safety Certifications
- OSHA 10-Hour Construction Card (OSHA 10): Students who attend the 10-hour course receive this card. The 10-hour course is intended for entry level workers. This course provides information about worker rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint and provides basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. This course is Construction 101, and most general form of safety training that all construction workers should have.
- OSHA 30-Hour Construction Card (OSHA 30): Students who attend the 30-hour course receive this card. The 30-hour course is intended for supervisors or for workers with some safety responsibility. It provides a greater depth and variety of training on an expanded list of topics associated with workplace hazards than the 10-hour course.
- First-Aid/CPR Training: A construction-focused first aid training course will cover burn response, CPR, AED use, scene assessment, six key first aid skills, choking, job hazards, emergency contacting, and basic risk mitigation.
- Safety Trained Supervisor (STS): The Safety Trained Supervisor (STS) is intended for leaders at all levels of an organization because all employees have responsibilities for a safe work environment. This certification is intended for executives, directors, managers, supervisors, superintendents, and employees. These individuals may not have safety as a primary duty, but their knowledge of safety practices ensures safer and healthier worksites, and their competency strengthens the foundation of safety in the organization.
- Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT): The Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT) is a certification held by those with experience and expertise in developing, designing, and delivering safety, health, and environmental training. Safety training at this level is virtually in every industry including manufacturing, petroleum production and refining, and construction. A CIT may hold positions at the manager, director, technician, or supervisory level and may have other duties in addition to training.
- Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC): The Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC) is like the STS certification but has a focus on construction rather than general industry. This course is intended for leaders at all levels of an organization because all employees have responsibilities for a safe work environment.
Entry Level (Role Specific) Safety Certifications
- Certified Safety Manager (CSM): This Safety Manager Certificate is an indication to employers, potential employers, regulatory agencies, and the courts that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities equivalent to a level of proficiency expected of a professional who can work with little or no supervision while managing the safety programs, policies, and procedures common to business and industry.
- Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician (OHST): Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technicians (OHST) course is for persons who perform occupational hygiene and safety activities on a full-time or part-time basis as part of their job duties. Some examples of occupational hygiene and safety activities are making worksite assessments to determine risks, potential hazards, and controls, evaluating risks and hazard control measures, investigating incidents, maintaining, and evaluating incident and loss records, and preparing emergency response plans.
- Safety Director Certification (SDC): Safety Director Certificate indicates a high level of proficiency and is one of the most sought-after certificates in the industry. The Safety Director Certificate is an indication of a level of proficiency expected of a safety professional who can develop and managing a comprehensive facility-wide or corporate safety program.
- Licensed Safety Professional (LSP): The highest designation through the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) is the Licensed Safety Professional. The LSP certification indicates an ability to develop and implement a full safety program. Your responsibilities include the supervision of other employees and managers.
- Certified Safety Manager Construction (CSMC): This course will provide the tools necessary to implement proper safety training and an effective safety program. Students will learn how to understand and interpret regulations, avoid civil and criminal liability, increase worker morale, reduce workers comp rates and most importantly, minimize or eliminate injuries wherever construction activities may occur.
- Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST): The Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification is designed for individuals who demonstrate competency and work part-time or full-time in health and safety activities devoted to the prevention of construction illnesses and injuries. The CHST certification meets national standards for certifications.
Advanced (Role Specific) Safety Certifications
- Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM): The CHMM examination is a testing instrument designed to evaluate candidates seeking professional certification in the field of hazardous materials management. This Specification Blueprint is intended to offer guidance to candidates by outlining reasonably expected duties and tasks based on surveys of what hazardous materials managers do in practice.
- Safety Management Specialist (SMS): The Safety Management Specialists (SMS) course is for individuals with management skills required for a business’s safe operation, applying these safety skills on a full-time or part-time basis as part of their job duties. Some examples of an SMS’s activities include defining and utilizing an organization’s safety management systems; risk management; incident investigation and emergency preparedness; maintaining current knowledge of safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) concepts; and identifying the business case for safety.
- Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHSP): CHSP credential holders come from various healthcare backgrounds including safety, security, occupational health, nursing, administration, risk management, quality improvement, facility management, hazardous material management, emergency management, fire safety, biomedical services, patient safety, infection control, and environmental services.
- Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM): The Certified Safety and Health Manager credential recognizes knowledge of occupational safety and health plus a working knowledge of business and financial principles and assesses your understanding of hazard analysis, accident investigation, safety audits, workers comp, product safety, environmental laws, labor relations, and more.
- Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH): A Certified Industrial Hygienist will complete an exam to demonstrate a minimum level of knowledge and skills in the following subject matter areas:
|• Air Sampling & Instrumentation
• Analytical Chemistry
• Basic Science
• Biostatistics & Epidemiology
|• Community Exposure
• Engineering Controls
• Health Risk Analysis & Hazard Communication
• IH Program Management
• Non-Engineering Controls
• Thermal Stressors
• Work Environments
Educational (Role Specific) Safety Designations
Associate Safety Professional (ASP): A course designed by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), the Associate Safety Professionals (ASP) course is for persons who perform at least 50% of professional level safety duties including making worksite assessments to determine risks, potential hazards, and controls, evaluating risks and hazard control measures, investigating incidents, maintaining, and evaluating incident and loss records, and preparing emergency response plans.
Certified Safety Professional (CSP): A course designed but the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), the Certified Safety Professionals (CSP) course is for persons who perform at least 50% of professional level safety duties including making worksite assessments to determine risks, potential hazards, and controls, evaluating risks and hazard control measures, investigating incidents, maintaining, and evaluating incident and loss records, and preparing emergency response plans. Cannot obtain until completion of ASP certification.
Graduate Safety Practioner (GSP): The Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP) is a designation available to college and university graduates from safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) degree programs which meet BCSP Qualified Academic Program (QAP) standards. The GSP program is an alternate path to the Certified Safety Professional® (CSP®) and does not replace other paths.
Top Priority Construction Certifications: Which Should I Obtain First?
Start with the basics and keep it simple. All construction professionals should acquire some level of basic safety training, not only to protect themselves and others on-site but to build their resume with relevant educational experience.
The must have safety courses for ALL construction professionals are:
- OSHA 10
- OSHA 30
- First Aid/CPR training
- Other regulatory mandated certifications
Depending on the state/region you live, there might be additional certifications that would be attractive on a resume or even mandated by regulatory bodies in the region. For example, workers in new York have to acquire an SST Card (Site Safety Training Card) in order to legally perform work on some jobs. The SST Card consists of OSHA 30, 8-Hour Fall Arrest Training, and 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness training.
The Importance of Up-To-Date Certifications in Construction & The Risk of Expired Training
Why should a worker and their employer care about safety certifications being up-to-date?
Well, for starters, expired safety certifications put you, the worker, at risk on the job. But, secondly, expired certifications put your employer and everyone around you on-site in a bad spot.
A worker with an expired certification on a construction site is a ticking time bomb. Any incident or accident that happens will likely have some level of investigation and one of the first things to be identified is the status of the worker’s training certifications. For general contractors, ensuring that all workers on a site are up-to-date and qualified is extremely important to meet insurance requirements and save loads of money on insurance costs.
>>> Article – Certification Tracking: The Mind-Blowing Costs of Expired Training Certifications
Tip: Adopt Technology to Help Your Team Proactively Manage Safety Certifications
myComply’s Company Certification Manager (CCM) allows your company to store photo proof of worker certifications, eliminate manual management, and get automated expiry alerts to ensure worker training never lapses/expires.
Photo (above): Store proof of a worker’s certification and access the information at any time.
Photo (above): Get automated alerts to ensure no worker is operating with expired training certifications.
Technology like myComply allows your team to ditch spreadsheets and other manual tracking efforts. When manually tracking safety certifications a firm risks letting certification expiries fall through the cracks, which can be devastating if/when an incident occurs.
>>> Article: Safety Certification Management Software for Construction: 5 Key Benefits
Conclusion: Stay Up to Date & Always Be Learning
The key to building a successful career in construction is to always be learning, and staying up-to-date. Staying up to date doesn’t just apply to up-to-date safety certifications, but also staying in-the-know with industry trends. Follow construction newsletters, attend local networking events, and obtain as much knowledge about your space to be considered an expert in your field.
A good example of keeping in touch with industry trends is looking at which technology is surfacing. As the industry adopts more and more technology, don’t ignore what types of tech can make your role easier and make you more efficient in your job.
Always be learning, building your resume, and growing your safety-related knowledge base.