Are You Caught Up with Your EHS Training and Learning?
Posted on October 27, 2021 | in EHS
by Phil Molé
We’re nearing the end of the year, which is usually a time for EHS professionals to take stock of their EHS management systems including their workplace training programs to see what’s working, what’s not, and where things can be improved. With many EHS professionals are also currently planning their budgets for 2022, so it’s the perfect time to think about any tools that could help to improve training performance, including eLearning content and learning management system (LMS) software.
Here, we’ll explore some of the ways that LMS and eLearning software can help you overcome the challenges of EHS training management, improve awareness of your EHS programs, and give you the agility to meet future training challenges.
The Benefits of eLearning & Learning Management System (LMS) Software
Training is one of the most, if not the most direct way workers engage with our EHS programs and workplace EHS culture. It’s how we make sure that our EHS programs and policies are part of the day-to-day work tasks employees perform. It helps us be who we think we are and what we say we are when it comes to safety.
That’s why it’s important that we deliver training to workers that’s effective and engaging, and makes the most of your training budget. This is especially challenging if you have multiple locations, a remote and mobile workforce, temporary workers or contractors who need to be quickly brought up to speed, or a diverse set of training needs and employee learning styles.
These challenges have become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workplaces shifted to remote work, and some of those who’ve since re-entered physical workplaces still are operating on staggered work-shifts and reduced physical occupancy levels. Others have even adopted permanent work-from-home (WFH) policies. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has accelerated several evolving workplace trends. For example, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has analyzed the shift to more remote work through its Future of Work initiative. In this evolving workplace, our EHS training programs need to be versatile enough to provide and document training whether our employees are working “in-person” or remotely.
Another growing trend recognized in the NIOSH Future of Work initiative is greater workplace diversity, as measured by a broad range of social and identity-based factors. For example, there’s more language diversity as many workers of different ethnicities and primary languages are increasingly represented in the workplace, as well as more age diversity with older employees staying in the workforce longer alongside a growing segment of millennial and younger workers. This all translates to greater variability in languages spoken, learning styles and worker motivations than ever before, and traditional classroom-based training methods are having a hard time keeping up.
For all these reasons, eLearning and LMS software can help us meet the challenges of a changing workforce, and the changing nature of work itself. With the ability to instantly deliver interactive and engaging training content to workers anywhere, anytime, for a fraction of the cost of traditional classroom-based instruction, eLearning and LMS software provides proven benefits to help you meet your training challenges head-on.
Keeping Up with HazCom Training
Hazard Communication (HazCom) is a particular training challenge for employers, consistently ranking #2 on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most frequently cited regulations for the last eight years. HazCom training requirements are one of the most common areas that employers struggle with, and they were already struggling during “normal” times when HazCom requirements were well established. But…we’re no longer living in “normal” times.
Early in 2021, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update the HazCom Standard to align it with Revision 7 of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The proposed changes would be the first major revision of HazCom since OSHA published the 2012 final rule, and would have an impact throughout the chemical supply chain, including on workplace HazCom training. A major reason for that is that the updates would impact the way several categories of hazardous chemicals are classified, namely aerosols, flammable gases, and desensitized explosives. These changes would also affect associated hazard communication elements such as precautionary statements, hazard statements and pictograms.
As of this date, OSHA is still awaiting additional information from participants at its September 2021 public hearing on the proposed changes and will then begin the process of sorting through stakeholder feedback to develop its final rulemaking. As it stands now, manufacturers of substances affected by the rulemaking would have one year to comply with the new requirements, and manufacturers of mixtures would have two years. End users of chemicals whose employees work with affected chemicals would need to update their HazCom training program to reflect those changes.
LMS software that comes with ready-to-use HazCom eLearning content can be a big help here. Employers can use LM software to administer their entire training program, with the ability to easily assign HazCom eLearning courses to their employees and add relevant site-specific information about the specific chemical hazards present at their facility. You’ll also be able to track that training was completed, and verify that training included the right content. It’s the level of visibility and control you need to stay on top of the approaching HazCom changes, and keep your workers well-trained and safe.
HazCom Training Resources
For more information about how the proposed HazCom changes would affect your workplace HazCom training, check out our article from ISHN Magazine by Phil Molé, MPH to learn more about the nuances of HazCom training in the face of changing requirements.
If you’re looking to learn more about how LMS software and eLearning content can help you keep your entire workforce trained while also building buy-in and support for your EHS programs, download our infographic “The ROI of eLearning.”
You can also download our The Training Program Management Cycle Infographic to get an introduction to the training program management process an how you can apply continuous improvement principles to drive the future success of your training program
We also have several on-demand webinars to help you learn more about how to improve and modernize your training programs:
Be sure to follow us on social media for additional resources and information about training & learning and other EHS and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) topics.
Let VelocityEHS Help!
Training and learning software is part of our VelocityEHS Accelerate® platform, and can help you take your training programs to the next level. Please feel free to contact us anytime to learn more.