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Training Program Development

Training Program Purpose


First, let's define what a "program" composes: a program contains a written plan, policies, processes, procedures, rules, forms, reports, and possibly other documents. A safety training program is just one of many interactive programs within an integrated safety management system.

In order to meet the continuing need for highly trained safety and health staff, it's important to develop a safety training program. The program should include a written plan for training new-hire and current employees to help ensure they will know what to do when/if ever they are exposed to hazards during work.

The purpose of a training plan is to provide training professionals with clearly written policy and guidelines for implementing an effective safety education and training program for employees.

  • The plan should contain elements that are informative and directive.
  • It should inform everyone about the safety training mission, policies, procedures
  • It should also clearly state who is responsible for carrying out the mission, policies and procedures

ANSI Z490.1-2016, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training


This consensus standard establishes criteria for safety, health, and environmental training programs. Criteria includes program development, delivery, evaluation and program management.

According to ANSI 490.1-2016, at a minimum a training program should include the following criteria:

  • A development piece, including needs assessment, learning objectives, course content and format, resource materials, and criteria for course completion
  • Delivery by competent trainers in a suitable training environment
  • Evaluation in a continuous improvement system
  • Documentation and recordkeeping
  • A plan describing how the various training elements will be accomplished

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements


The following information was adapted from 29 CFR 1910.120 Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines - (Non-mandatory). Although written specifically for training hazardous waste operations, the core criteria may serve as an excellent template for the design of your safety training program. Below are the 10 core criteria.

1. Training facility: The training facility should have available sufficient resources, equipment, and site locations to perform didactic and hands-on training when appropriate. Training facilities should have sufficient organization, support staff, and services to conduct training in each of the courses offered.

2. Training Director: Each training program should be under the direction of a training director who is responsible for the program. The Training Director should have a minimum of two years of employee education experience.

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

3. Instructors: Instructors should be deemed competent on the basis of previous documented experience in their area of instruction, successful completion of a "train-the-trainer" program specific to the topics they will teach, and an evaluation of instructional competence by the Training Director.


Instructors should be required to maintain professional competency by participating in continuing education; professional development programs; or by successfully completing an annual refresher course and having an annual review by the Training Director. The annual review by the Training Director should include observation of an instructor's delivery, a review of those observations with the trainer, and an analysis of any instructor or class evaluations completed by the students during the previous year.

4. Course materials: The Training Director should approve all course materials to be used by the training provider. Course materials should be reviewed and updated at least annually. Materials and equipment should be in good working order and maintained properly. All written and audio-visual materials in training curricula should be peer reviewed by technically competent outside reviewers or by a standing advisory committee.

Reviewers should possess expertise in the following disciplines where applicable: occupational health, industrial hygiene and safety, chemical/environmental engineering, employee education, or emergency response. One or more of the peer reviewers should be an employee experienced in the work activities to which the training is directed.

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)


5. The program for accepting students should include:

  • receive assurance that the student is or will be involved in work where exposures are likely and that the student possesses the skills necessary to perform the work; and

  • provide a policy on the necessary medical clearance.

6. Ratios: Student-instructor ratios should not exceed 30 students per instructor. Hands-on activity requiring the use of personal protective equipment, testing equipment, or hazardous procedures should have instructor ratios of 5-10 students per instructor.

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)


7. Proficiency assessment: Proficiency should be evaluated and documented by the use of a written assessment and a skill demonstration selected and developed by the Training Director and training staff. The assessment and demonstration should evaluate the knowledge and individual skills developed in the course of training. It's important to understand that "individual," not "group" testing be accomplished. Asking the "group" questions, and receiving answers by one or more members of the group, is not acceptable. The level of minimum achievement necessary for proficiency shall be specified in writing by the Training Director.

  • If a written test is used, there should be a minimum of 25 questions. Each student should answer all questions and a minimum test score of 70% should be required.
  • If a skills demonstration is used, the tasks chosen and the means to rate successful completion should be fully documented by the Training Director.

The content of the written test or skill demonstration must be relevant to the objectives of the course. The written test and skill demonstration should be updated to reflect changes in the curriculum and any update should be approved by the Training Director.

The proficiency assessment methods, regardless of the approach or combination of approaches used, should be justified, documented and approved by the Training Director. The proficiency of those taking the additional courses for supervisors should be evaluated and documented by using proficiency assessment methods acceptable to the Training Director. These proficiency assessment methods must reflect the additional responsibilities borne by supervisory personnel in hazardous waste operations or emergency response.

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)


8. Course certificate: Written documentation should be provided to each student who satisfactorily completes the training course.

The documentation should include:

  • student name;
  • course title;
  • course completion date;
  • statement that the student has successfully completed the course;
  • name and address of the training provider;
  • an individual identification number for the certificate; and
  • list of personal protective equipment authorized for use (if required).

This documentation may include a certificate and an appropriate wallet-sized card of the above information. When such course certificate cards are used, the individual identification number for the training certificate should be shown on the card.

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

Sample Training Record
(Click to enlarge)

9. Recordkeeping: Training providers should maintain records listing the dates courses were presented, the names of the individual course attendees, the names of those students successfully completing each course, and the number of training certificates issued to each successful student. These records should be maintained for a minimum of five years after the date an individual participated in a training program offered by the training provider. These records should be available and provided upon the student's request or as mandated by law.

10. Program quality control: The Training Director should conduct or direct an annual written audit of the training program. Program modifications to address deficiencies, if any, should be documented, approved, and implemented by the training provider. The audit and the program modification documents should be maintained at the training facility.

Download the complete CFR 29 1910.120, Appendix E.

Download a Sample Training Plan (pdf format).


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. It's important to develop a safety training program that includes ____________.

2. Which of the following is NOT a minimum OSH training program component according to ANSI 490.1-2016?

3. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, how much employee education experience should a training director have?

4. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, instructors are NOT deemed competent based on _________.

5. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, the "hands-on" instructor-student ratio should be ______.

6. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, which of the following testing methods would be acceptable?

7. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, training documentation need NOT include:

8. According to 29 CFR 1910.120, Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines, the safety training director should conduct ____________ written audit of the training program.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.