OSHA Has Specific Training Requirements For Workers

[tweetmeme]Working with many different types of clients is a lot of fun, but it also keeps you on your toes.  Especially regarding training requirements. One of the most frequently asked questions I get involves OSHA regulations on how often you must have safety meetings.

Currently OSHA has no regulation on how often you must have safety meetings. However, there are regulations that require training on a scheduled basis such as Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030) training, which is required annually.

Other general industry standards that require annual training include:

  • Asbestos—29 CFR 1910.1001
  • Exposure and Medical Records—29 CFR 1910.1020
  • Fire Brigades—29 CFR 1910.156 (quarterly training required for interior structural firefighters
  • Fire Extinguishers—29 CFR 1910.157
  • Fixed Fire Extinguisher Systems—29 CFR 1910.160
  • Grain Handling—29 CFR 1910.272
  • HAZWOPER—29 CFR 1910.120
  • Machine Guarding—29 CFR 1910.217 and 218
  • Noise—29 CFR 1910.95
  • Respiratory Protection—29 CFR 1910.134
  • Toxic Substances—29 CFR 1910.1003, 1017,1018, 1025-1029, 1043, 1045-1048, 1050

Then there are two standards that require training every 3 years: Process Safety Management (29 CFR 1910.119) and Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178).  For more information on OSHA required training visit the OSHA website, or contact me directly at learningsolutions@occutec.com.

Talk about Safety: Save a Life!

[tweetmeme]”Toolbox Talks”, “Toolbox Topics” , “Safety Chats” , “Tailgate Meetings” or whatever your organization calls them is a brief safety talk or meeting about a specific subject at the beginning of the shift. These talks can be done in a variety of ways but are typically a brief (5-10 minute) interactive discussion meeting on something safety related. Toolbox Topics are used to cover a variety of short safety training subjects and to remind employees each day before they go to work, the importance of being safe.  They can also help foster and grow a culture of safety within your company.

However sometimes the same safety meetings that occur time after time lose some of the spark as an effective training tool.  We’ve all been to safety meetings that missed the mark—topics were not pertinent, sessions ran too long, disorganization ruled.  We have all experienced times when the safety training was forgotten as soon as the meeting was over.

It’s too important to just give up though.  Employee’s lives and fortune depend upon their knowledge and attitude about job site safety.  One seemingly silly accident can quickly ruin a company financially as well, and for the remaining employees it can certainly alter their quality of life.  It is in every worker’s interest to protect their savings and earning potential as well as their life and health.

Tips for Effective Safety Meetings

  • Carefully time the length of meetings.  If you hold meetings once a month, keep the length at 30-45 minutes; once a week, keep it 30 minutes or less with 20 minutes as the ideal length. The longest meetings should run no more than an hour.
  • For construction work, have short, informal tailgate safety meetings of 5, 10, or 15 minutes before work once a week, with a longer talk at least once a month or at the start of each phase of the construction project.
  • Schedule topics over a long period—a year is most common.  The schedule provides reasonable deadlines for the trainer and helps others plan their working days.
  • Select meeting topics on the basis of 1) a review of the most recent types of accidents and near-accidents, 2) related corporate safety goals, 3) any particular subjects that need to be covered from a legal or insurance standpoint, and 4) your basic list of safety topics to be reviewed.
  • Have the senior management person at the location open the meeting and sit in—it’s a sign of commitment.

Without constant reminders about safety, we tend to forget, get sloppy, take risks, and have accidents.  Safety meetings are a great refresher and can keep you abreast of changes in the regulations, safety procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and job assignments, and responsibilities.  Refresher training is also sometimes required by OSHA and having a pre-planned weekly meeting is a convenient way to go over required training.

Employee Training Leads to Increased Productivity

[tweetmeme]According to ASTD research, companies that invest in employee learning have higher productivity, revenue growth, and profit growth than companies that do not. Employee training is a fundamental determinant of customer satisfaction, sales per employee, and market capitalization within an organization. Employee satisfaction with opportunities for learning and development is one of the most important predictors of whether an employee will stay with his or her current employer and the opportunity for professional development and training is one of the top three things people consider when deciding where they want to work.

Training should be viewed as a business value for your organization. There are measurable and hidden qualities that determine the health and well-being of an organization, drive decision-making for all work activities, and attract investors. A well trained workforce is definitely a quality that your organization needs to succeed.

Five ways you can increase the payback of your training dollars

  • Make training on ongoing process, and reassess training needs frequently to make sure you’re meeting today’s needs, not yesterday’s.
  • Encourage employees to talk about their training needs and request additional training.
  • Provide employees with opportunities to use newly learned skills on the job.
  • Make sure your training is comprehensive, interesting, and interactive, and gives employees the chance to practice new skills in a safe setting.
  • Send employees back to work with learning aids such as checklists, step-by-step instructions, and safety reminders that help them safely and effectively transfer newly learned skills to their job.

Updated OSHA Videos Intended To Provide Respirator Training Resources


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently posted a series of 17 videos to help workers learn about the proper use of respirators on the job.

These short videos are intended to provide information to workers in general industry and construction.  Topics include OSHA’s Respiratory Standard, respirator use, training, fit-testing and detecting counterfeit respirators. The videos are available with closed captioning for streaming or download from OSHA’s Web site.

OSHA’s Safety and Health topics page on Respiratory Protection also includes additional training materials, information about occupational respiratory hazards in different industries, and details of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134 and 29 CFR 1926.103).

Online Learning Programs Succeed or Fail Before They Are Implemented.

[tweetmeme]Experts have opined on the development of the skills necessary to succeed in online learning for years, and although in today’s business environment it is easy to find an online course provider that’s both convenient and accessible; your workers may face significant challenges in developing the skills necessary for this type of learning.   Online training programs targeting adult learners in the workforce have grown dramatically over past few years.  Yet relatively few online learning providers offer what it really takes to have a successful online learning program.

In many recently published studies  and articles most students, when asked, agree that online discussions with fellow students and the instructor are central to the learning experience.  Instructors can encourage students to develop techniques to make the most of online discussions, which may add to a student’s learning experience and promote success in the online course.  The instructor can also encourage students to apply concepts from the online course, or as one student described it, “use it or lose it,” to develop an ability to retain and synthesize course objectives.   Another key for successful online learning is the importance of making a connection with fellow students.   Students who develop a meaningful connection with their co-workers and peers receive and provide support to one another.   The online connections also promote a sense of being a learner among other learners.

Staying motivated in the course is a challenge for students taking stand alone online courses.   It is important to develop a personal motivation strategy to make the online learning experience successful; one that can keep them from losing interest or burning out.   However many students simply do have the skill set necessary to develop this kind of strategy, let alone being able to implement it in a meaningful way.

Students in a recent study published by Educause Quarterly agreed that taking the following practical steps helped them succeed in their online courses:

Tips for Successful Online Learning

  1. Develop a time-management strategy.
  2. Make the most of online discussions.
  3. Use it or lose it.
  4. Make questions useful to your learning.
  5. Stay motivated.
  6. Communicate the instruction techniques that work.
  7. Make connections with fellow students.

Learning Environment

Many companies rush into online learning as a way to save money, and while it is true that on the balance it is less expensive, great care and planning should be taken in order to make sure it is a successful program.

An ideal study environment is just that – ideal.   Some students need absolute silence while others can’t seem to concentrate without noise in the background.   No matter what the preference, a well-lit place that is free from distractions is recommended.   Note that students make much better use of thirty minutes of disruption-free study than an hour’s worth of commotion-filled learning.

Keep your online learning sessions short!  For most learners a one to two hour session is ideal.

Don’t assume that all of your employees have the same level of computer savvy as you do.  Provide required training on course orientation and computer basics; how to log in, what to expect when logging in, basic screen layouts, how to get additional resources, etc.   Make sure everyone knows how to ask for help!

Implementing a great online learning program starts with great planning.  Correctly implementing an online learning program will greatly improve its success and its survival ability during tough economic times, and lead to greater overall satisfaction and increase the learning opportunities for your company.

Traditional Learning Model Shifting To More Social And Online Setting

[tweetmeme]According to the ninth annual “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011” survey, the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6 million.  Now nearly one-third of all students in higher education are taking at least one online course.  The survey is based on responses from over 2,500 academic leaders, and is a leading barometer of online learning in the United States.

Key report findings include:

  • Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.
  • The 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
  • Thirty-one percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Reported year-to-year enrollment changes for fully online programs by discipline show most are growing.
  • Academic leaders believe that the level of student satisfaction is equivalent for online and face-to-face courses.
  • 65% of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy.

By 2015, 25 million post-secondary students in the United States will be taking classes online.  The number of students who take classes exclusively on physical campuses are expected to plummet, from 14.4 million in 2010 to just 4.1 million five years later, according to a new forecast released by market research firm Ambient Insight.

With a new generation of worker, having previous experience with both online classes and social learning, entering the work force it is imperative for all businesses to re-evaluate the way they offer job training.  The shift in the teaching and learning paradigm (the old Carnegie model) is steadily evolving as technology itself does (the Computer-mediated model).  Learners are becoming more responsible for discovery and self-learning while teachers take on the role of facilitator.   Occupying a seat in a physical classroom for a specific period of time is fast becoming the exception rather than the rule.   With online access and a laptop computer or mobile tablet, learners are never more than a click away from the classroom.

Social Learning is here to stay.

The rapid growth in social learning isn’t likely to fade anytime soon either.  Social learning takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interaction between peers.  According to  What is Social Learning? by Mark Reed, to be considered social learning, a process must:

  1. demonstrate that a change in understanding has taken place in the individuals involved;
  2. demonstrate that this change goes beyond the individual and becomes situated within wider social units or communities of practice; and
  3. occur through social interactions and processes between actors within a social network.

Social learning is not necessarily based on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL).  Rather it’s where learning takes place via social interaction often times through the Internet (Skype, YouTube, Dropbox, Facebook,  Moodle, etc.).  The process assumes that knowledge (as meaning and understanding) is socially constructed.  Learning takes place through conversations about content and grounded interaction about problems and actions.  Social learning is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding and learn something because it allows you to teach it to others.  It also aligns very well to how adults tend to learn the best.

Adults are autonomous and self-directed. They need to be free to direct themselves and are relevancy-oriented relying heavily on life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and previous education to advance their learning.

E-Learning budgets Increasing

ASTD’s 2010 State of the Industry Report shows that elearning is still increasing as it now accounts for 27.7 percent of corporate training, its highest level since ASTD began collecting data on the use of technology for this report 14 years ago (in 2008, it was 23.1 percent). By virtually every measure, traditional learning model are shifting away from the classroom experience as e-learning experiences unprecedented growth and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

With new technology being developed and continuously implemented,  it isn’t surprising that successful companies are those that believe in lifelong learning for their workers. In order to survive in this new learning environment your company will need to develop strong online and social learning processes.

OSHA Finally Gets Their Man in St. Louis: Brian Andre Arrested!

[tweetmeme]After years of chasing Brain Andre, OSHA finally got their man.  Andre is the former owner of Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork.  OSHA announced today that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ordered the arrest and incarceration of Andre, and and Regina Shaw, owner of Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc., the successor company to Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork for repeatedly failing to comply with court sanctions enforcing OSHA citations that had become final orders of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  The two were taken into custody today by authorities.

The order for incarceration stems from Andre and Shaw’s failure to comply with sanctions ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, following the court’s initial ruling of contempt against Andre and Shaw in January 2010.

“Employers who expose workers to hazards and blatantly ignore OSHA citations will not be allowed to escape their responsibility of keeping workers safe – or sanctions levied against them for failing to do so,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo.

OSHA issued numerous citations from June 2003 to the present, to both the original company and its successor, for willful, repeat and serious violations related to fall hazards, scaffolding erection deficiencies, power tool guarding and other hazards in connection with multiple St. Louis-area projects.  When the companies failed to comply with the court’s 11(b) order enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s final orders, the Labor Department’s Office of the Solicitor filed petitions for contempt.

As a result, a special master of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found Brian Andre, Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. and Regina Shaw in contempt, and ordered various sanctions including requiring them to pay outstanding penalties, continually accruing interest and other miscellaneous fees in the current amount of $258,582. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. and Regina Shaw must pay a $100 daily penalty, calculated from the time of default in early 2008 on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s final orders. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. must provide OSHA weekly notification of all current jobs and known future jobs at least 72 hours prior to commencement of work for a period of three years. The company also must provide training to all persons currently and subsequently designated as jobsite “competent persons” prior to beginning any work and provide the department with records of such training.

OSHA Awards $8 million in Susan Harwood Capacity Building Grants to 45 organizations

[tweetmeme]The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today awarded $8 million in Susan Harwood Capacity Building Grants to 45 organizations, including nonprofit and community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, and colleges and universities. The grants will assist these organizations in providing safety and health training, and educational programs for workers and employers.

“Ensuring that workers and employers have the information they need is critical to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These grants will help provide training and education aimed at identifying hazards, understanding rights and responsibilities, protecting health and saving lives.”

The Susan Harwood Capacity Building Grants support training programs that educate workers and employers in industries with high injury and fatality rates; low literacy, young, limited English proficiency and otherwise vulnerable workers; and small business employers. They fund long-term programs that build safety and health competency within organizations.

OSHA awarded approximately $6.7 million to 30 organizations already providing occupational safety and health training, education and related assistance to their constituents, and that are seeking to expand and develop their capacity. Another $1.3 million in smaller pilot grants was awarded to 15 organizations that seek to lay the groundwork for a robust safety and health education program. The agency received a total of 166 applications for the capacity building grants.

“The programs funded by these grants will have a long-lasting, positive impact on workers and employers alike,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA also has significantly reached out to non-English speaking, and historically hard to reach, vulnerable workers by awarding grants to organizations committed to serving those groups.”

Current Training Requirements for the Gulf Oil Spill Workers

[tweetmeme] OSHA has issued a recent press release detailing the training requriements for clean up workers in the Gulf.  Basically you have to have 40-HAZWOPER and site specific training provided by BP or one of BP approved training contractors. 

According the OSHA Press Release you must be trained on the hazards of your job in a language that you understand. You must be trained before you begin oil spill response and clean-up work.  Your employer must determine the type and length of training you will need.  Training is based on your job duties and the job’s hazards. OSHA is monitoring BP to make sure that their site training meets OSHA requirements.

NOTE: At this time, BP has stated that you must be hired by a BP contractor before you attend training. Taking a class without already having a job does not guarantee that you will get a job later.


Click here to learn more…


[tweetmeme](Kansas City, Missouri) –February 24, 2010 – OCCU-TEC, a leader in energy, environmental and safety services based in Kansas City, Missouri, announced today that it will be moving as of March 1, 2010.

The move will result in two offices for the company.
• 4151 N. Mulberry Drive, Suite 275, Kansas City, MO 64116: This office will serve as the main OCCU-TEC office and will be home to the corporate staff as well as the Loss Prevention, Learning Solutions, and Environmental Management divisions.
• 100 NW Business Park Lane, Riverside, MO 64150: This office will serve as the office for the company’s Energy Systems division.

“This move will allow us to take advantage of our current growth and gives us room to grow in the future,” said Joe Fiorella, OCCU-TEC’s CEO. “We think we are poised to help our divisions grow now that we have the kind of space they need.”

As an example, Fiorella pointed to the Riverside location as an ideal spot for OCCU-TEC’s energy systems division as it will allow them storage and space for servicing and maintaining fuel systems for back-up generators, and other necessary equipment.

To reach OCCU-TEC call 816-231-5580 or 800-950-1953.

For 26 years OCCU-TEC has helped clients effectively manage environmental, occupational health, safety, and energy system issues, control operational costs, and improve overall productivity to create long-term value. Client service and loyalty remain as the cornerstones of our success.

OCCU-TEC helps companies evaluate, attain, and demonstrate compliance with internal and external quality and risk management issues, regulatory compliance, as well as operational excellence and business continuity. Our solutions contribute to effective risk management and performance improvement to help create long-term value.