First, let's define what a "program" is: 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 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.
ANSI Z490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training is a consensus standard that establishes criteria for safety, health, and environmental training programs. Criteria includes program development, delivery, evaluation and program management. The standards are the result of years of collaboration among industry experts and are considered acceptable in complying with OSHA requirements.
At a minimum, a training program should include the following criteria:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Course certificate: Written documentation should be provided to each student who satisfactorily completes the training course.
The documentation should include:
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.
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).
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