Online Safety Training: Don’t Fall For The Scam

It’s time for some hard truth you might need to hear.  Online safety training is typically NOT OSHA compliant. If your company uses only online training, you are in danger of being cited and paying fines.

And let’s be honest – we all know that a lot of online training programs only exist just to ‘check the box,’ where the only purpose is earning a certificate with your name on it, rather than actually learning something.

Does your online training source look like this?

Recently, a company in New York asked OSHA “are online training programs acceptable for compliance with OSHA’s worker training requirements?” And they got a direct answer from OSHA.

OSHA’s answer? ‘No.’ Check out the Letter of Interpretation here. In OSHA’s eyes, companies that only use online safety training are not in compliance with OSHA requirements for safety training. Online-only programs just simply don’t offer enough to make sure employees have the information they need to stay safe.

Once or twice a month here at Paragon, we are contacted by companies in India, Pakistan and elsewhere that would like to sell online training classes using our name. They are trying to make a quick buck, re-selling poorly-produced online training videos that are NOT in compliance with OSHA.

At Paragon we are proud to say that all of our classes are taught in-person, by an OSHA-authorized trainer and safety expert. That means we feel very confident that participants in our classes have the best chance to take away useful information from our classes, and apply that information on the jobsite to stay safe and healthy at work.

Do a quick online search for safety training, and you will see dozens of websites, full of stock images of friendly construction workers and phrases like “OSHA Compliant,” with unbelievable prices. Don’t fall for the scam. Sometimes these companies operate websites that may call themselves the “National Online Training Such-and-such” or similar. Isn’t it strange, though, that they use the name “National” but never say what nation they mean? Often times, these websites have no listed address, no listed phone number, or any other indication that they are run by real people…

Here’s an example: we saw a company promoting an online First Aid / CPR class. It costs about $15, only takes 25 minutes to complete, and they promote it as “OSHA Compliant.” Unfortunately…that is a lie. OSHA requires hands-on training with a CPR dummy, where a certified instructor watches a person as they perform CPR. That can’t happen in a 25-minute online-only “class,” ergo, it cannot actually be OSHA-compliant. These companies make profit by lying to you.

Compare that to the American Red Cross First Aid / CPR class that we teach. It has hands-on training from a qualified, in-person instructor, and is OSHA-compliant, runs about 4 hours, and participants walk away from class with a great handle on what to do in an emergency. Which one of those sounds like it’s worth your money?

What does OSHA require? That safety training happens in an environment where class participants can ask questions of a qualified, experienced trainer. And in an environment where interactive and hands-on training is possible. If you’re learning about fall protection, it’s not enough to just watch a video – you also have to hold a harness in your hands, get practice putting the harness on correctly, and receive instant feedback from an instructor about whether you’ve done it right.

So we encourage you – don’t fall for the scam. If the price of an online training class seems too good to be true, it probably is. The old adage rings true: you get what you pay for. If you have questions about what kind of safety training you need, give us a call (919-329-0006) or shoot us an email. We have real, live safety experts who actually exist and live in the United States, waiting to give you answers to any questions.