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Human Resources

  • Wearing More or Less Hats

    It’s 9 pm, and as I’m leaving the lumber yard with some trim boards, nails and some ¼ round, my wife calls and asks me to pick up some milk and cereal. I walk dutifully back into the store, and the clerk greets me while asking if I had forgotten the nails. “NO” I mumbled not too happy to be out at this hour, “but can you tell me where I can find the milk and cereal?” “Sure” she replies cheerfully. “You’ll find it in aisle 12 next to the frozen pizzas, take your time we’re open till 10 tonight”. You’ve got to be kidding me. Lumber yards used to be lumberyards, grocery stores were grocery stores and at gas stations you bought gas and a candy bar. Times have really changed.

    All this reminded me that even in industry things have really changed. We’re all wearing more Safety-Professionalhats than ever before and trying to satisfy more needs with more responsibilities. It now becomes imperative that you come prepared with a plan. As a safety advocates we find that having a written plan is only the tip of the iceberg when trying to satisfy OSHA’s general duty Clause (Pub. Law 91-596 Section 5(a)(1)). I’m sure there isn’t a safety person or HR person out there that doesn’t struggle occasionally trying to cover all of the bases of this clause which is non-specific, but specific saying that just in case you’ve missed something , they didn’t. The hazards encountered today are numerous and more are being discovered as we speak. Finding, not just the proper training, but also the time to train, and budget, all becomes an uphill battle. So education and training starts with you, the HR, safety person, competent person, trainer, or all of the above. There is more education available for you through OSHA, numerous college campuses, seminars, and technical colleges. That’s a good thing, and there are more young professionals choosing this career today with more education. You might consider hiring them as interns before graduation, and grooming them in your application specific industry.

    Sourcing the information however has become a little less daunting with more resources available including “online” training, and more up to date videos. If you are still shorthanded and need help with training, auditing, or need a risk assessment, there are professionals providing that as well. The key to all of this is of course, is realizing or admitting what you can and cannot do, and getting the help, and tools necessary to keep your employees safe.

    I am thankful that I didn’t need to go out and find milk and cereal. I could actually get it right there in the lumberyard with my ¼ round, nails and trim. So sometimes change is a good thing, and wearing one less hat would be nice too.

    At SafetyInstruction.com we try to make things as easy as possible, offering both OSHA compliant training and safety supplies, giving you everything you need to ensure the safety of your employees, while promoting and maintaining a safety culture.

  • My Mother: A Tribute to Competent Person Training

    I grew up in a family of twelve children, five girls and seven brothers. Little did I realize at the time that apparently OSHA had visited my house and declared “Mom” a competent person.

    The term "Competent Person" is used in many OSHA standards and documents. An OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them" [29 CFR 1926.32(f)]. By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, and has the authority to correct them. Some standards add additional specific requirements which must be met by the competent person. This definition is taken from OSHA.

    It seemed that Mom was always on the spot to guide us in the direction of sanity. She taught us some of the finer points of working safely in the kitchen, and of course the rewards of taste testing to make sure it was safe for the others. Cleaning was also on her radar, including sanitation. Right to know issues were whose turn it was to do dishes, or sweep the floors. Everybody was involved in cherry picking and pitting for pies and jam. The older boys had garage duty, or loading coal into the furnace hopper. Of course Dad was the force in the repair department, including repairing and glazing windows before putting on the storms in time for winter. Dad also inspected and repaired our 4 buckle boots. Yes PPE was a part of the routine. We didn’t necessarily have safety meetings but were reminded that if we were going out to play ball, to cross the road safely, make sure the dog didn’t follow us, and to look out for your little brothers. I’m not too sure what Mom told the girls except that she would flash the light on and off if they were in the driveway too long with a boyfriend. Mom passed away this past fall, but left us with a lifetime of memories. Competent Person training was passed down. Now I get to be the competent person in my own home, with my wife’s blessing of course.

    Competent person training is a big deal. Why train a competent person? Employers are required by law to comply with a number of OSHA regulations. These regulations are defined and driven by hazards which exist in your workplace. Compliance with these laws indicate that a “Competent Person” must be assigned the responsibility of identifying existing and predictable hazards, and has been given the authority to take corrective action. If you are a Human resource manager, Maintenance Manager, safety program Administrator, Hospital administrator, on a safety committee, process engineer, department manager, Risk manager, or anyone having safety management duties. You should have this type of training. It covers: Introduction to OSHA, components of an effective safety Program, OSHA Record keeping fundamentals, , Intro to Industrial hygiene/toxicology, Job hazard analysis & Procedures, accident investigation, PPE, Hazcom & GHS, LOTO, confined space. Along with that training the trainer could also be a part of this type of training. Seek out, find and enroll in the training you need. Competent Person Training, Your Mother would be proud.

  • On Line Business Courses, More than Just Safety Instruction

    Business today requires that you wear more than just one hat or hardhat, and that you have more than just a hammer in your toolbox. Today if you’re the Safety person, you could also be HR, Finance, or a Department Supervisor. You could also be the company referee handling conflict management. Our course description says that “recent research has shown that conflict can have positive effects on an organization if managed effectively”. Titles are impressive but don’t really mean much without the tools to succeed, back it up or support you. I believe that your employer realizes that you can’t do everything, or that an employer realizes that he can’t do everything. Training is the key and one must be realistic in terms of the time it takes. Taking only an hour or two each our online business courses could be just what the doctor ordered.

    Have you ever been in a meeting that just seemed to drone on and on. Perhaps a “Meeting effectiveness” course could be suggested.

    OK so the boss wants you to write a report, and you have that, “deer in the headlights”, look. Check out “Business writing Reports and Proposals”. You could be on your way to a raise, or at the very least, job security.

    Communicating Basics has always been a key issue, and catch phrase, in everybody’s business. This also holds true even at home with the boss, whoever that might be. Here’s more: Communicating as a Team, Communicating Non Verbally, Persuasively, Proactively, Reactively. More recently I think that you will find that people have become more sensitive to cultural and ethnic surroundings so “Intercultural Etiquette” and “Cultural Communication” has loomed large, on the political landscape, work environments, college campuses, just about every place you turn. Everyone reading this blog knows someone who could benefit from participating in one or more of these courses. The time commitment is minimal compared to the reward. The cost is even more disproportionate compared to the amount of the return on your investment.

    Short courses such as these can hold your interest, and are very interactive so you won’t be bored to tears. You can learn more about Customer support, and service, delegating, or heaven forbid “Discharging an Employee”. The additional personal benefit is; you will have more confidence in yourself and your ability to take on new challenges. You’ll have a new bounce to your step .This type of confidence, and positive attitude is indeed contagious among your peers, and in your family. So please take a serious look at where you are and where you would like to be. You are the only person holding you back. Safetyinstruction.com is offering these On Line Business Courses for not just the betterment of your workplace, but for your Family as well.

  • Does Your Company Really Need Safety Training?

    There are some companies that do not know the value of proper safety training. Some companies believe that a simple note, reminder, or briefing is enough safety training for their employees.

    According to Charles R. Haines, training your staff and employees with a proper safety program will be beneficial for your company in the long run. While any kind of training will need investment and will not come cheap; nevertheless, it will be for the best interest of the company to have their employees trained. As Haines explains in his article, “Why Have a Safety Program?,” a trained employee will less likely encounter accidents, which can cause damage to property, to his fellow employees, and to the customers. Even a single accident incurred to a customer can lead to numerous problems like lawsuits. Another reason for having a training program is because it is an obligation of the employer to provide a safe workplace. Giving training, as Haines says, also boosts the morale of the employees as they know that their company is concerned about their welfare. Because of the higher morale, employees will function and work better.

    There are some places where safety training is a basic need for every employee or worker. As Jim Emmons explains in “Why Construction Safety is Important,” every construction company needs to give their workers a proper safety training. There is just too much risk in construction sites that can lead to mishaps if the workers are not trained properly.

    Failure to train the employees may lead to serious trouble for everyone. Steve Hughes writes about an example of what can happen to companies that do not have proper safety precautions in place. Delorio Foods was fined $55,000 because of the alleged unsafe working conditions of the workers in the factory. In the article, “DeIorio Foods facing almost $55,000 in fines,” numerous safety faults were mentioned, including blocking of the exit and absence of various safety checks for a food processing plant.

  • Why Have a Safety Program

    Why is safety important in all places--streets, working environment, and home? Well, for one reason, it is very expensive to be ill or injured. And some employers shrug off, if not ignorantly the impact of the cost of injuries and accidents to their organizations. Charles Haines, a certified safety professional, reveals three reasons why it’s important to have a safety program.

  • Construction Workers Dying Daily

    The number of worker deaths per day is a sad fact that we are facing these days. Construction sites are particularly dense zones for workplace fatalities. Jason Gooljar talks about such incidences and gives a rough measure of just how many men face this fatal tragedy. Who - or what - needs to be blamed? Read more from his web-post here.

  • The Top Five Things to Train Employees on in Safety

    Arnold Anderson explains that for a company to have a competent and efficient employees, they will need to be trained in five elements. These five things will train the workers or employees to work safely which leads to an overall harmony in the workspace in every aspect. Arnold Anderson explains that these five training procedures will most likely need or have some variation based on the department or nature of work of the employees. Anderson’s post on The Top Five Things to Train Employees on in Safety will be very helpful for companies who are just starting to grow.

  • Are You Getting a Good Return on Investment for Your Training Efforts?

    Sandy Smith wrote about the value of training programs in the ROI of companies. In the first part of of the post she wrote down three misconceptions about the calculation of ROI from training programs. In the second part of her post, Sandy wrote down some tips on how to properly assess and calculate if your company is really getting its worth from the training programs they spend their money on. This post answers the question “Are You Getting a Good Return on Investment for Your Training Efforts?” which companies, who spend for training programs, will find interesting.

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