Seven states now have laws that require construction workers to complete the OSHA 10-hour construction safety-training course before they can work on certain construction projects. The states with an OSHA law already in effect are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and most recently, Missouri. The state of Nevada OSHA training law becomes effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Most of the state laws restrict the required training to workers on publicly funded construction sites, such as public roads and bridge construction projects and public school buildings. However, the state of Nevada, whose law takes effect Jan. 1, 2010, requires all construction workers to complete the course.

The state laws also vary on exactly which "workers" need the training, according to Curtis Chambers, vice president of OSHA Pro's Inc., an OSHA training company with national coverage. "While all seven state laws require the same 10-hour training class, there are slight nuances from state to state. A particular state law may require all labors and supervisors to complete the class, whereas another state law may require the class just for laborers," says Mr. Chambers. "There are also varying thresholds for the dollar amounts of the contracts that dictate when the states' laws become effective. However," he warns, "each of these state laws contain a provision that say failure to comply with their rule can result in fines and penalties being assessed, typically to the employer of the non-compliant workers. So affected workers are required to obtain the OSHA 10-hour construction training wallet card to prove they completed the course."

The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course was developed by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as a voluntary safety course to teach workers about the hazards of construction work and the regulations applicable to their worksite. But these seven states have decided to make the course mandatory training for construction workers in hopes of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities afflicting construction workers.

The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course can be conducted by instructors who are authorized by OSHA to conduct this training and issue the OSHA cards. Some large companies even have their own authorized OSHA trainer on staff. There also are private safety consultants and companies that conduct the training for a fee for companies or groups needing the course. OSHA also has authorized on-line OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training courses, allowing a worker to take the required class on the computer via the Internet, and have the wallet card subsequently mailed to the trainee. The Internet-based online OSHA training Web site can be found

For the individual state laws, visit the respective state’s Web site to learn the particulars.