Part 2: What Does OSHA Say About Online Safety Training?

What Does OSHA Say About Online Safety Training? - Part 2

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

Missed Part 1?

Before deciding to invest in online safety training, management types often ask a similar question…

“Is this stuff OSHA certified?”

They’re wondering if online training is a legitimate, recognized method for training delivery, and asking if what they’re about to purchase will satisfy regulatory requirements.

So let’s unpack this common concern for many employers, shall we?

Confused? We get it. Over the years, OSHA has repeatedly clarified its position on online training through a series of “letters of interpretation”, which are official responses to formal questions from employers. However, most of those letters are old and out of date, failing to keep pace with technology that has significantly improved in many cases.

Vivid’s online training is developed using OSHA’s recommended instructional design model: ADDIE

Training Course Materials and Content Training Development/Instructional Design

Training courses should be developed and updated as necessary to be consistent with the recognized principles of training development/ instructional design. Training development should follow a systematic process that includes: a needs assessment, learning objectives, adult learning principles, course design, and evaluation. (Reference: ANSI Z-490.1-2009.) One such instructional design model is called “ADDIE.” This stands for the main components of the ADDIE process: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. Training materials and content are produced as the course author progresses through the instructional design cycle. First, a training analysis is performed, then the structure of the course is designed; next, specific content is developed; after that, the course is implemented or presented; and last, the course is evaluated.

Additionally, safety professionals (like me, a long-time Vivid customer)—and employers—want to know that every legally required nuance is covered for each training topic. And as a best practice, there should be a document explaining how learning objectives connect with particular hazard exposures per training topic. Also, the training and the policy should live together and be easily accessible. That way, if inspected, the provision of training documentation is quickly facilitated.

Today, online training accomplishes this, tying it all together.

Essentially, OSHA wants to see each employer develop a well-rounded safety training program, not a one-size-fits-all, “set it and forget it” solution. And we agree—safety is too important. Think of a safety program as a responsive, living entity. Above the baseline policies and procedures, there must be a continuous loop of input and responsiveness, from awareness-level training to hazard recognition and abatement. Participation is essential. Each work environment is unique and that’s why live instruction is also critical; to capture the health and safety nuances of each workplace, a certain amount of hands-on, experiential safety training is necessary. One of the key benefits of training online is that it affords employers more time for one-on-one or small group live instruction, by handling the knowledge requirements for each training topic efficiently.

OSHA also advises that safety training programs should be designed around a needs assessment. Take our 10-minute, no cost Training Needs Assessment to identify training topics for your workforce.

Read Part 3 of this series...

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