The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace. Through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor requires employers to provide employees with key types of training—in addition to posting signs and taking other precautionary measures—in order to ensure their workspace is safe.
We reviewed more than two dozen compliance and human resource training companies to build our list of the best workplace safety training companies based on course availability, training options, pricing, and more.
The 7 Best Workplace Safety Training Programs of 2021
Best Overall: National Safety Council
The National Safety Council (NSC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 1913. The organization is chartered by Congress and has local chapters made up of more than 50,000 members. The company provides multiple types of safety training such as packaged options, classroom training, private on-site sessions, and online courses.
The NSC is our top choice because it is a large, well-established, nonprofit organization designed specifically to increase worker safety in the workplace. The company also offers a wide variety of courses about defensive driving and first aid, as well as a number of consulting and training options so businesses can use the one that works best for them and their employees.
Through its library of courses online, NSC members and users can get training for a variety of industries such as construction or electrical work, with many courses designed specifically to meet requirements set by OSHA and other agencies. Prices vary by course, ranging from $15 per person to over $160. Most, however, cost between $25 and $50 per person.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: J.J. Keller
J.J. Keller is a private, family-owned business that was formed in 1953. The company is one of the most established names in safety and compliance consulting. It claims to serve more than 600,000 customers, including 90% of Fortune® 1000 companies.
J.J. Keller is our runner-up not only because it’s a reputable company in the workplace safety training industry, but also because of its breadth of offerings. It has a large list of interactive courses available online that is broken down by individual industries, with two of the largest being transportation and construction. Most of J.J. Keller’s classes cost between $25 and $80 per person and can easily be purchased on its website.
In addition to its individual safety course offerings, J.J. Keller helps employers draft their own internal safety policies. The company can consult individually with businesses that want assistance in drafting policy, or business owners can utilize J.J. Keller’s library of templates to draft their own.
Best Flexible Package Pricing: Safety Skills
Safety Skills is unique in that it offers a number of packages such as enterprise pricing and an option for businesses to license individual courses for repeated training. This allows companies to find a pricing structure that fits their needs. Businesses that have a large number of employees to train can select an enterprise package, while those who only have a few can pay per user. Enterprise course packages are $3 per person per month, plus an additional $100 per month for businesses that need to utilize the Safety Skills learning management platform.
Safety Skills started as a training company and has evolved into an e-learning human resources training platform. Like other providers on our list, Safety Skills has a long list of courses that it offers online covering topics such as first aid, ladder safety, and spill prevention and response. These courses are segregated by industry, making it easy to navigate.
Best for Lifetime Access: Udemy
Udemy is an online learning marketplace that began in 2010. The company offers classes and resources on all sorts of topics ranging from marketing and design to programming, accounting, music, and photography, and customers are able to access course materials for the rest of their lives after the training has been purchased.
Among its many programs, Udemy offers a six-hour OSHA course designed specifically to teach the requirements and standards of OSHA and workplace safety. The course costs $65 and includes a series of six classes and more than 180 downloadable resources as well as a certificate of completion.
One of the unique things about Udemy’s workplace safety training course is that it includes lifetime access, so once you purchase it for an employee, they can always refer back to it.
Udemy offers other workplace safety training programs, including one on managing health and safety in the workplace and another on health and safety risk assessments.
Best In-Person Training: Pryor Learning
Pryor Learning traces its roots back to 1970, when its founder started offering one-day training seminars. Since then, the company has grown tremendously and now offers a wide breadth of training seminars, including a 30-hour OSHA compliance course and HIPAA training as well as online courses for things like OSHA updates and record-keeping compliance.
While Pryor’s online training courses don’t stand out among competitors, the company shines as an option for training through in-person seminars, which is why they’re our top choice for in-person training. Pryor offers multiple OSHA and workplace safety courses at venues around the country starting at $99 per person. (Note: COVID-19 restrictions may apply.) Once employees go through initial training at seminars, they can find course updates and extensions through Pryor’s online course catalog.
Best Free Training: Alison
Alison is a large multinational e-learning platform that teaches about topics as diverse as leadership development, sales, software development, and sociology. The company was started in Ireland in 2007 and has since grown into an e-learning platform that offers a wide range of topics such as business and human resources. Alison has three levels of OSHA training, OSHA Certificate courses, OSHA Diploma courses, and OSHA-related Learning Paths, all of which are available cost-free. Additionally, Alison offers a course in workplace safety and health that is totally free and comes with a certificate of completion. Business owners interested in learning about things outside of workplace safety can also use Alison to expand their sales skills, learn history, or learn a foreign language.
While Alison doesn't specifically advertise compliance with OSHA, it claims to have workplace safety courses designed by OSHA experts and universities. These courses are a valuable resource for extra training that companies can provide to employees—it may even serve to help lower companies’ workers’ compensation premiums—but it shouldn’t be relied on to fulfill OSHA requirements.
Best Additional Safety Tools: Creative Safety Supply
Creative Safety Supply is primarily a safety supply company focused on office supply sales rather than a training company. It boasts a small lineup of workplace safety training courses, however, and also offers business owners a whole host of safety-related materials and tangible resources such as signs, labels, hard hats, and vests.
Among its products, Creative Safety Supply offers a small line-up of workplace safety training courses on DVD that cost $250 each and cover topics such as fire safety and first aid. While this training is more expensive than other providers, it comes as a DVD that can be used repeatedly for multiple employees, rather than paying per-license from other providers. Creative Safety doesn’t advertise that these courses meet the requirements set by OSHA. However, it does sell other safety-related products such as signs that are advertised as being OSHA-compliant.
What Is Workplace Safety Training?
Workplace safety training is a course or a series of courses that businesses provide to employees to ensure that they have a safe and productive workplace. These courses vary by industry and can focus on topics such as electrical, heavy machinery, and hazardous materials. Much of this training is mandated by OSHA, which requires employers to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment. Some training can also be provided to help employers lower insurance premiums for coverage including workers’ compensation.
An Overview of OSHA Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide employees with a “safe and healthful workplace.” Through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor requires that employers provide adequate training and post relevant safety resources such as posters and placards in order to help ensure a healthy workplace for their employees.
Workplace Safety Training and Workers Compensation Insurance
In addition to being required by OSHA and other agencies, workplace safety training programs can also help employers to qualify for discounts on workers’ compensation and other insurance. Many insurers offer cost savings for companies that provide workplace safety training, with others requiring training as a condition of coverage. While training can help lower the cost of coverage in some instances, it can also reduce instances of workers' compensation claims.
What Does Workplace Safety Training Typically Include?
OSHA’s training requirements vary by industry and fall into five different categories: General Industry, Maritime, Construction, Agriculture, and Federal Employee Programs. Training requirements for each category vary. For example, general site workers such as equipment laborers who are responsible for removing hazardous materials are required to receive a minimum of 40 hours of off-site training and three days of supervised field instruction.
What Does Workplace Safety Training Typically Exclude?
Although workplace safety training is typically conducted or coordinated by human resource professionals, the training generally does not involve actual job training to help teach employees specific work-related tasks. These programs also don’t qualify employees as supervisors or trainers able to provide training themselves, unless specifically outlined in course documents. Companies should not expect training participants to improve their job skills or productivity as part of the training, nor should managers rely on these employees to pass on their learnings to co-workers.
What Are the Expected Costs of Workplace Safety Training?
Workplace safety training costs depend largely on the type of training and how the material is presented. Training types are dictated by industry, while pricing structure for individual courses is set by providers. Some offer packages with a series of courses or bulk discounts for employers who have large numbers of employees to train, while others simply charge a per-person fee for each course. During our review, we saw a wide range of prices that ranged from free to over $200.
How We Chose the Best Workplace Safety Training Companies
There are many human resource and compliance companies across the country that offer workplace safety training. To choose the best, we looked for companies that offer training that is easy to purchase online. We specifically selected numerous companies that offer training completely online, with some offering additional options for live webinars or on-site training sessions. We also tried to find companies that offer cost-effective training in which employees can work through independently and add individual courses as needed.
OSHA. "Training Requirements in OSHA Standards." Accessed November 23, 2020.
Industrial Safety & Hygiene News. "J.J. Keller is first Wisconsin company to achieve ISO 45001:2018 certification." Accessed November 24, 2020.
The Education World Forum. "Udemy." Accessed November 24, 2020.
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. "Fred Pryor Seminars and CareerTrack, Divisions of Pryor Learning Solutions, Inc." Accessed November 24, 2020.