The quality of your personal protective equipment (PPE) training is strongly linked to the safety of your workforce, but delivering an appropriate educational program to an entire crew can be challenging. While newer hires may still be acclimated to the rigors of study, your existing employees may not. Some may even view training as returning to school, and may be intimidated by the thought of classrooms. In addition, older styles of training can’t meet the needs of the rapidly growing electric utility industry. Classroom PPE training is time-consuming and expensive and often requires employees taking their training off-site during their non-working hours.
You still must provide your crew members with PPE training that supplies them with their mandatory OSHA certifications, but in a way that’s a seamless addition to their work days.
You can take advantage of enterprise-level learning management system (LMS) technology that’s online and on-demand. It removes the classroom situation and is effective, yet engaging and self-directed. This kind of tool delivers multimedia content to increase knowledge retention as well as the ability to address any knowledge gaps.
First Things First: What Does OSHA Require?
As an employer, there are multiple OSHA standards that you have to be aware of. When it comes to PPE training, OSHA makes it very clear on the training utility workers are required to have. For PPE, this falls under standard 29 CFR 1910.132 through 140.
Regulation 1910.332 relates to the training requirements that are applied to employees who face a risk of electric shock that is not reduced to a safe level. This also pertains to the electrical installation requirements 1910.303 through 1910.308.
1910.269 covers power generation, transmission, and distribution installations, including related equipment for the purpose of communication or metering that are accessible only to qualified employees.
You must train workers who are required to wear PPE on:
- how to use their PPE properly
- when wearing their PPE is necessary
- understanding PPE’s limitations in protecting them from injury
- how to put on, adjust, wear, and take off PPE
- how to maintain their PPE properly
In addition, 1910.132 requires you to:
- select appropriate PPE based on the hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace.
- prohibit the use of damaged or detective PPE.
- establish employee PPE training requirements.
Why You Can’t Afford to Fall Behind on PPE Training
OSHA PPE training is logical training as well as mandatory. Participation can spell the difference between successful or negative workplace outcomes. Your workers have a great deal to gain from a successful training program. They also have the most to lose if the program is insufficient or fails them altogether.
Utility workers are well aware of the potential hazards their jobs entail, whether they’re from falls or coming into contact with live electrical wires. When they take a training program, the training program used should fulfill their needs to result in a safe workplace.
Don’t take the risk
The last thing you want to face are employee injuries, illnesses, or fatalities because they haven’t managed their PPE properly. If they had the correct PPE training, many of these incidents would not have happened in the first place. Here are risks that could have been prevented:
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has reported 2017 facts and figures on the numbers of fatal and nonfatal electrical injuries. Among them are:
- The utility industry had the highest rate of fatal electrical injuries with 1.01 incidents per 100,000 workers.
- Workers aged 16-17 years experienced electrical fatalities at 5.4 times the average for all age groups.
- There were 136 electrical fatalities in 2017.
- There were 2,210 nonfatal electrical injuries in 2017.
- Utilities experienced the highest rate of nonfatal injuries with 1.8 incidents per 10,000 workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported unsettling numbers:
- During the 2011 to 2015 period, electrical power line repairers suffered 201 occupational fatalities with little differentiation in numbers between years.
- On average, there were 1,084 nonfatal injuries in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry.
Steps to Proper PPE Training
In a nutshell, there are steps to gaining a PPE training tool. You should leverage a system that enables you to :
- create a multi-media system that uses self-directed and on-demand learning.
- use an LMS that allows you to easily adapt your PPE training curriculum to changing OSHA standards. Since different individuals learn in different ways, your LMS should let you employ multimedia tools to illustrate real life PPE situations.
- introduce performance monitoring at the training level to ensure course and competence-level completion.
Purpose-Built PPE Training
Your employees are faced with multiple potential dangerous situations throughout the course of their work days. They also need compliance certifications due to OSHA regulations. That said, even if they earn required certificates, some may still have knowledge gaps that require your immediate attention.
When employees use enterprise-level LMS platforms for their certifications, they are quickly tracked so competency gaps are recognized and addressed quickly. These platforms allow you to easily prioritize educational interventions and delegate your time to those employees who need additional support.
WestNet Learning provides ongoing PPE training support as your program develops, allowing you to easily scale it to your company’s needs. Its multi-media, self-directed format also makes learning more engaging so workers can learn based on their individual learning styles with the use of presenting material as real-life on-the-job situations.
WestNet’s platform was purpose-built for employee training, providing you with flexible curriculum components that can be customized according to your employees’ unique educational requirements for their PPE training.
To learn more about how you can deliver PPE training to your entire workforce, feel free to reach out and schedule a 1-on-1 strategy session today!