One of the topics our risk management team gets asked about the most is related to employee training. As we all know, the best defense against exposures to workplace injuries is to have a professional, knowledgeable, safety-conscious work staff. The best route to ensure your staff is prepared to perform their job functions daily is to confirm they are well-trained to handle the aspects of their jobs. This includes office staff, fire and police, and highway workers. All workplace training needs to be documented. With the changes in COVID-19 restrictions and the re-opening of municipal operations to full-deployment, PESH has been inspecting for current training programs much more frequently.
OSHA and PESH have standards on employee training which we have put together in a table available to registered program Members which is located on the Comp Alliance Academy by clicking here.
Not all employees are required to attend all of your training offerings. Many employees, based upon their job functions, will not be required to attend many of programs. However, there are four trainings which are required to be completed annually by all municipal staff, including volunteer firefighters, board members and summer help. These four are sexual harassment/discrimination, workplace violence, right-to-know, and bloodborne pathogens.
Based upon your municipal operations, additional training may also be required for job-specific departments, such as highway, DPW, water, sewer, etc. Areas such as permit-required confined space, trenching and excavation, lock-out/tag-out, and other safety-specialized programs are likely required for your departments which have exposures in these areas. OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires that your municipality provide a workplace free from recognized hazards in the workplace. The best option to notify employees of these hazards is through proper, routine workplace training.
As for the frequency of these trainings, they vary depending upon the topic. Some, like the four mandatory topics mentioned above, are required to be taken at least once per year. Others are required only when an employee is hired, but may be re-administered should the work environment change, equipment changes, or the employees are not maintaining good knowledge of the safety protocols for that topic. For example, Lock-out/Tag-out is an OSHA standard requiring initial training upon hire, when new equipment is purchased, and when the employee fails to display an adequate knowledge of the controls for the exposure of hazardous energy.
For all the trainings listed on the chart, instructors need to display a base knowledge of the topic under discussion and provide the information to attendees so that the known hazards of the topic are reviewed in detail. The Comp Alliance Risk Management team is able to assist with the majority of these training requirements. Preparing workers for the hazards of a particular job function and the means to avoid or reduce the hazards should be a part of any routine training program. The Comp Alliance is here to aid in your training needs.
Program Members can refer to the training chart on the Comp Alliance Academy for your departmental operation functions and let the Comp Alliance Risk Management team know how we can assist you with your safety training needs.