So your forklift operator forgot his training and rolled off a loading dock. Or maybe your roofing crew members got careless and didn’t wear their fall protection. Or perhaps your supervisor was in a hurry and didn’t check the air in the tank before sending workers in. Whatever happened, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now wants to know: Did you provide these workers with the required training? When? And what did the training cover?
Thorough, accurate training records can be the difference between a steep OSHA fine (and a black mark against your company) and an effective defense against accusations that when something went wrong, it was because you failed to do your part to prevent it.
Here’s some advice on how you can track those records accurately.
Benefits of a Good Recordkeeping System
Good records can protect you from accusations of negligence in your training in the event of an OSHA inspection—but that’s not the only benefit you’ll reap from a well-designed and well-organized recordkeeping system. A good recordkeeping system will:
- Track which employees have had what training and how recently they have had it.
- Track who provided your training and what the training covered.
- Include test and quiz scores showing that workers understood the material.
- Provide notes about important details, such as whether the training was offered in other languages and whether it included a hands-on or live skills practice component.
You can do all of that on paper, of course, with a filing cabinet and manila folders, but it can become cumbersome, especially if you are trying to keep your workers’ skills fresh with frequent “toolbox talks” or pretask review sessions. For the sake of saving space and managing a lot less paper, many employers are moving to electronic recordkeeping systems. The first step is sometimes a simple spreadsheet, but a database specifically designed for tracking training records is an even better choice. A good electronic recordkeeping system—called a learning management system—can do everything listed above, plus:
- Remind you when it’s time for retraining as required by specific standards.
- Automatically create a record of electronic training sessions.
- Track the amount of time that workers spend on training, both to meet minimum regulatory requirements and to identify areas where training might be consuming too many man hours.
- Collate and print out records based on different criteria; for example, if you need a specific worker’s training records, you can find and print them easily. If you need all records pertaining to a specific type of training, those are also easy to find.
Tomorrow we’ll look at how to choose a learning management system that automates your training process in ways that will make your life easier.