ANSI Z490.1 Sections 1, 2, and 3: A Brief Overview for Effective Safety Training

(Note: ANSI and ASSE recently released a new, revised edition of ANSI Z490.1. This article has been updated to cover the new, revised, 2016 version.)

In a recent post, we introduced ANSI Z490.1 and gave a quick overview of it and its seven sections.

ANSI Z490.1 is important because it’s the national standard that lists criteria for accepted practices in safety, health, and environmental training. So if EHS training is part of your job responsibilities, it is definitely worth your time to get to know ANSI Z490.1.

So with no further delay, let’s turn our attention to Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the standard.

Need help with your safety training program at work? We’ve got e-learning safety courses and learning managements systems (LMSs) for various industries, company sizes, and needs. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

And while you’re here, why not download our free Guide to Effective EHS Training, which is partly based on ANSI Z490.1?

ANSI Z490.1 Section 1: Scope, Purpose, and Application

Section one covers the basics: scope, purpose, and application.

Let’s look at each.

The scope of the standard is to create criteria for EHS training.

This means you can use the standard to follow best practices and benchmark what you’re doing against these criteria.

In other words, it means you can use ANSI Z490.1 as a model or template to create your EHS training program or improve your current EHS training program.

And by scope, they make it clear that they’re talking about the following aspects of your EHS training program:

  • EHS Training Program Management (which is covered in Section 3 of the standard)
  • EHS Training Development (which is covered in Section 4)
  • EHS Training Delivery (covered in Section 5)
  • EHS Training Evaluation (covered in Section 6)
  • EHS Training Documentation & Recordkeeping (covered in Section 7)

Now’s a good time to look inward and give yourself a gut-check. How well do you handle the management of your EHS training program? How about EHS training development, delivery, evaluation, and documentation/recordkeeping?

Are you confident that you’re on top of things? If so, great. Give yourself an ANSI Z490.1 Gold Star.

But if you’re not sure that you’re on top of all these aspects—or if you’ve never even thought about EHS training in this way—then it will definitely pay to dig deeper into this standard and learn what’s what.

The purpose of the standard is to establish best practices and criteria for EHS training.

The standard was written to provide people involved in EHS training a common set of criteria and best practices that they can use as a benchmark to evaluate their own training.

It’s a good goal, right? Nobody likes being told or expected to do something “well” when there’s no firm definition of what “well” means.

ANSI Z490.1 removes a lot of the mystery about effective EHS training by spelling things out for you. And it even gives you a process to follow. Nice!

The standard applies to all providers of EHS training.

Just involved in safety training? It applies to you. Just involved in health training? It applies to you. Just involved in environmental training? It applies to you. Involved in safety, health, and environmental training? You guessed it, it applies to you.

Are you involved in EHS training as part of a larger training effort? Yep, it applies to you.

Just involved in training development but not training delivery, evaluation or management? It applies to you. Just involved in delivery, evaluation, or management, but not the other parts? Again, and as you probably guessed, it applies to you.

ANSI Z490.1 Section 2: Definitions

The standard includes definitions of terms used within the standard.

I like it when standards do this. If you’re reading along and come to some important word and wonder what exactly that means, you can refer back to the definitions section.

That said, we’re not going to copy those definitions for you here, since they’re right there in the standard for you.

Buy a copy of the standard and check ‘em out.

ANSI Z490.1 Section 3: EHS Training Program Management

Section 3 focuses on the management of your EHS training program.

Integrating You EHS Training Program within Your EHS Program

The section begins by explaining that the EHS training program must be part of an overall EHS program, and that the integration of the EHS training program should include:

  • A clear understanding of who’s responsible for each aspects of the EHS training program (design, development, delivery, evaluation, and management)
  • A clear understanding of who’s accountable for each aspects of the EHS training program (design, development, delivery, evaluation, and management)
  • Adequate resources for trainers and trainees
  • Appropriate training delivery strategies that match the learning objectives of the safety training
  • Appropriate strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of the EHS training program
  • A system for managing the quality of the EHS training program, including managing the consistency of the program and continually improving the program

Responsibility and Accountability

Every element of the EHS training program should have a person who’s responsible for it and a person who’s accountable for it. These don’t have to be the same people.

The responsible person is the person that will provide that element.

The accountable person is the person who will answer for each element.

An EHS Training Program Must Include These Aspects

Next, the standard explains that your EHS training should include provisions for:

  • A training management system in accordance with recognized standards (ANSI refers to Annex A here, which lists quite a few “management” standards).
  • Development of EHS training in an appropriate manner relying on best practices of the training industry, including things like a needs assessment, learning objectives, creating appropriate course content, formatting course content appropriately, creating and providing resource materials, and establishing criteria to determine when a trainee has adequately completed a course. This is all covered in more detail in our post about ANSI Z490.1 Section 4.
  • Training delivery by competent trainers in an appropriate training environment. This is covered in much more detail in our post about ANSI Z490.1 Section 5.
  • Evaluation of EHS training to determine if it’s effective and the creation of a system for continuous improvement of the training. This is covered in much more detail in our future post about ANSI Z490.1 Section 6.

Managing and Administering EHS Training Resources

The standard then spells out some pretty basic things your EHS training program should ensure, including the following:

  • Administrative and management personnel: You’ll need people to administer and manage your EHS training program.
  • Training personnel: You’ll also need people with appropriate expertise to develop, deliver, and evaluate your EHS training.
  • IT personnel: If you’re using virtual training, you’ll need people with the expertise for IT technical support for the platform and delivery system.
  • Content and/or subject matter knowledge: You’ll need appropriate technical information and resources for developing your training on specific topics.
  • Budgets and money: You’ll need to have funding for all aspects of your EHS training program.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and/or local agencies and their training requirements: You’ll need to know the requirements for your EHS training program imposed by any federal, state, and/or local agency.
  • Facilities: You’ll need appropriate facilities where your trainings can occur.
  • Technology: You’ll need appropriate training-related technology to use during your EHS trainings. This includes things like overhead projectors, equipment for your trainees to use during practice, and any necessary PPE.
  • Records of training: You’ll need to create and store accurate records showing which trainees completed which training (and when).

Training Program Evaluation

Finally, Section 3 wraps up with some notes on evaluating the EHS training program (which, again, is covered more in Section 6 of the standard and is covered in more detail in our post on Section 6 as well).

Specifically, the standard says here that the EHS training program must be evaluated periodically, and specific aspects that should be evaluated include:

  • Training program management, including accountability and responsibility; the development, delivery, and evaluation of training processes; staffing, budgets, facilities, equipment, documentation, and recordkeeping.
  • Training processes, including training goals, learning objectives, training content and training methods (and if they support learning objectives), training environment, and training effectiveness.
  • Training results, including general plan for training employees, plan for conducting regular needs assessments, support for lifelong learning, funding, management competence, links among training program elements, long-term and strategic planning, and ability to identify and prioritize competing demands.
  • Trainers and their method of delivery

More Articles about ANSI Z490.1 

Well, that’s all we’ve got for you on Sections 1, 2, and 3 of ANSI Z490.1

Remember we encourage you to buy a copy of the standard (for $77) from ANSI.

In addition, our Effective EHS Training Guide is based on a lot of the stuff from ANSI Z490.1 and it includes a lot of additional resources too. If you’re interested, click the black box below to download a free copy.

And finally, we’ve got articles that look at each section of the standard in close detail (you just read one). Here they are:



Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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