Protecting Workers from Cold Temperatures: Some Helpful Resources

cold-stress

It’s October already. And that means that here in the US, cold weather is on its way once again.  Brrr.

And that also means it’s a good idea and a good time to consider how well prepared you and your workforce are for the lower temperatures.

Dealing with the cold weather may seem like something we all know about. But the truth is that people suffer from hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and other cold-related problems every year. And it’s almost always avoidable.

So, we’ve pulled together some helpful resources for you about cold stress, frostbite, working in the cold, and generally keeping safe in the cold. They’re drawn from various sources, including OSHA, the Department of Labor, AAA, National Public Radio, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and more. Hopefully you’ll find one or more of these helpful.

Stay safe and stay warm, friend!

And hey, here’s a nice tune to listen to when the temps really begin to drop: Baby, it’s cold outside. I like that version, don’t you?

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Training Workers to Use Software Systems with Screen Recording Software Programs

training-workers-to-use-software-systems-w-screen-recording-software-programsComputer software systems are all around us, and we use them a lot.

We use them a lot in our personal lives. For example, Facebook lets us catch up with friends and family. Google lets us find information we need. We watch movies online and we listen to music online. We even go online to do our banking, pay our bills, or shop.

The same is true at work. You’re reading this on a web browser now, obviously. And I wrote it using a blogging platform called WordPress. And if you’re anything like me, today you’ll be using a lot more software, too: Microsoft Office, Excel, and Word, plus maybe PowerPoint depending on how the day goes. I’ll probably be using some image editing software and custom software for logging my time at work, too. Maybe you’ll be doing stuff like that as well.

But it’s not just you and me. It’s all of the people that I work with, and probably all the people you work with, too. And because software is so common at work, it’s important to be able to teach new workers how to use software. Plus you’ve got to train existing employees how to use new software when it’s introduced at work.

And all that software training can burn up a lot of time–yours and theirs–if you do it inefficiently.

But fortunately, there’s a group of products that have the ability to record your computer screen and make little “how-to” videos for software training.  These tools can be very helpful, they can save you a lot of time and money on software training, and they can be used to teach employees software applications more quickly and effectively. So what’s not to like about that?

In this article, we’ll tell you more about these screen recording software applications. Please note that Convergence Training makes none of these products, has no business relationship with any of their makers, and doesn’t endorse any one product. We’re just saying that as a group, they’re a handy product type that can make your life easier at work.

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5 OSHA Compliance Considerations for All General Industry Employers

osha general industry compliance requirements imageThis is the third and last article in a three-article series looking at OSHA compliance requirements for general industry employers.

In the first article, we looked at six compliance requirements that apply for most general industry employers.

In the second article, we looked at an additional nine compliance requirements that may also apply to those employers.

And in this third article, we’re going to kind of “mop up” and provide a series of five additional compliance considerations that all general industry employers should keep in mind.

The information in these articles is coming from OSHA’s handy online Compliance Assistance “Quick Start” Guide for General Industry. If you’re not familiar with it, we definitely encourage you to check it out.

And with that, let’s continue and wrap up our series.

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Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems: Best Practices for Management Leadership and Employee Participation

In this article, we’re going to look at some best practices for ensuring management leadership and employee participation in your workplace occupational health and safety management system.

This is the third in a series of articles discussing health and safety management systems. If you’ve missed the two earlier articles, the first was an introduction to various health and safety management system standards and guidelines, and the second was a look at the difference between a H&S management “system” and H&S management “programs” (and more specifically, the difference between the system-approach advocated by ANSI and the ASSE in their ANSI Z10 standard and OSHA’s program approach advocated in their upcoming H&S management guideline).

The entire series of articles is based on information from ANSI Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. As we’ve said in the earlier articles, we highly recommend that you buy a copy of the Z10 standard for yourself. There’s a ton of useful information in it, including a large collection of helpful appendices at the end. It never hurts to take some guidance and get some helpful resources from the experts at ANSI and ASSE. The cost is $105.

Also, if you’re a big fan of ANSI standards created by the ASSE, you may want to check out our previous series of articles on ANSI Z490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training, and/or download our free guide which summarizes those articles.

With the scene now set, let’s get on to the focus of this article: management leadership and employee participation in your health and safety management system.

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9 More OSHA Compliance Requirements For General Industry

9more-oshaThis is the second of a three-article series looking at OSHA compliance requirements for general industry employers.

In our first article, we looked at six compliance requirements that OSHA believes apply to most general industry employers. In this article, we’ll look at an additional nine compliance requirements that OSHA believes may apply at general industry employers in addition to the five identified in the earlier article. And in the third (and final article), we’ll draw your attention to five additional compliance considerations that OSHA notes.

If you’re wondering how we know what OSHA things about this, it’s because they were nice enough to lay it all out in their handy online Compliance Assistance “Quick Start” Guide for General Industry. So that’s where we’re getting the information about what OSHA thinks most companies will have to comply with and what OSHA thinks many companies may have to comply with in addition.

If you haven’t, write a note to yourself to check it out soon. We’ve provided a link to it for you to review later.

But for now, enjoy our overview below.

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Writing True/False, Matching, Drag and Drop, and Short-Answer Questions for Workforce Training Tests

Recently we’ve written a series of articles about writing effective test questions for workforce training assessment.

We hope you’ve found the series interesting and helpful. And yep, you guessed it–we mentioned it because this article is another addition to the series.

In this article, we’ll give you a few general tips for writing specific types of questions. We already covered multiple-choice questions, an online workforce assessment workhorse, in a different article, so we won’t address that here. In this article, we’ll consider true/false questions, matching and/or drag and drop questions, and short-answer and/or fill-in-the-blank questions.

If you missed any of the earlier article in the series, we’ve already covered:

Keep your eye on the blog for a future post on creating assessments that evaluate how well employees perform specific job tasks and/or demonstrate job skills. That’s still on the agenda.

And let us know if we’ve missed something you’d like us to write about.
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6 OSHA Compliance Requirements Most General Industry Companies Face

OSHA Compliance Requirements
The other day, I was working with a customer who had just partnered with Convergence to begin improving her company’s current safety training program.

She’s a busy professional who wears many hats at work and has many responsibilities. One of them is to be sure the appropriate safety training is delivered to the workers at her company.

But she’s not a safety professional, and was a little confused about where to start and how to know what’s necessary. So we spent a little time with her, working things out, and while we did that, we passed some resources along to her.

One of them was an online guide from OSHA that we’ve found handy in the past:  their Compliance Assistance “Quick Start” Guide for General Industry. Have you seen it?

If you haven’t, write a note to yourself to check it out soon. Just check it out at that link above.

To make that even easier, we’re going to write a series of three blog posts that walk you through the OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start. We’ll break our posts down in the following order:

  1. Six compliance requirements that apply at MOST all companies
  2. Nine additional compliance requirements that MAY apply at your company
  3. Five final compliance considerations to keep in mind and that apply at MOST OR ALL companies

Because this is the first of those three blog posts, we’re going to cover compliance requirements that apply at most companies.

Remember that we’re discussing compliance for general industry right now. OSHA does have separate guides for construction industry compliance and health care compliance as well.

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Combustible Dusts: 2016 OSHA Rulemaking Update and Informational Resources

Chances are you know that OSHA has been talking about creating and enforcing a Combustible Dust Standard for some time now. That’s been going on since 2009, actually, so the process isn’t a great barn-burner.

We last wrote about it in 2013, and there hasn’t been a lot to update since then.

However, we noticed that combustible dust appears on the 2016 OSHA Unified Agenda again, so we thought we’d draw that to your attention, let you know what OSHA’s up to this year, and use it as an opportunity to share some resources on combustible dusts you may not have.

And so, we’ve published this list for you (with help from the good people at OSHA). It’s a veritable combustible-dust storm of information. We hope it helps out.

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Comic Books and eLearning: Lessons from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

In an earlier blog post, we took a quick introductory look at some connections between comic books and eLearning.

And in that article, we promised to follow up with a second article that focuses on the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. And we also promised that the second article would focus on some lessons from comic book design that we can apply to the design of eLearning other forms of learning.

This, my friend, is that second article.

Before we get going, let’s take a stop at the “credit where credit is due” department.  Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a classic and is GREAT. If you’ve read it, you can vouch for me. Or maybe you’ve just heard of it and know it’s very well regarded.

If you haven’t heard of the book or read it yet, I highly recommend it. If you read it, you’ll learn a lot on a wide variety of topics. And even better, it’s written in the form of a comic book, so you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re reading, too.

But even though I suggest you check the book out and promise you’ll like it, you won’t have to read the book to begin drawing some lessons from it. Because that’s the whole point of this article. And of the comments section at the bottom, too–please share all your own ideas.

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Convergence Training Releases New MSHA Miner Training Courses

safety-and-health-management-standards-and-guidelinesConvergence Training, a leading producer of industrial safety and mine training products, announced today the release of its next generation of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) compliance training courses.

Convergence Training’s history of producing award-winning MSHA training and its longstanding position as the leader in compliant miner training contribute to its dominance in the industry. Based on the MSHA Part 46 regulations for training and retraining of surface miners and mining contractors, Convergence Training’s new courses are designed to supplement a broader range of Part 46 surface mining and Part 48 underground mining compliance programs. The computer-animated courses are produced to be used individually or purchased as bundled sets that are configured to meet core requirements for new miner and annual refresher training.

Convergence Training owner and president, Randy Kohltfarber, explains the value that these new courses offer the mining industry. “Since we released our Surface Miner Training courses in 2008, we’ve helped leading mine companies and their thousands of employees stay compliant with MSHA training regulations. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done on our new MSHA miner training courses. They simply look stunning and provide a great value from a trusted brand,” said Kohltfarber.

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Stills from Convergence Training’s new MSHA compliance courses

Convergence Training will release its MSHA mine compliance course catalog in both eLearning and DVD formats for the broadest accessibility in the industry.

View more preview clips and request full-length previews at convergencetraining.com

 

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Comic Books and eLearning: Examples and Resources

comic books and elearning example graphic

Comic books, the movies that they spawned, and graphic novels are a massive part of the American cultural scene these days.

For example, adults now freely admit to reading comic books. It’s no longer a dirty secret people hide. Do you read them? I do, and have since I was a kid.

We’ve seen serious books written about comics and the history of comics, including The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Heck, you can even take university classes on comic books–check out the courses offered by the Department of Comic Studies at University of Oregon as an example.

Graphic novels have come from nowhere to be very well respected. And deservedly so–a few of my favorites are Maus, Fun Home, and Persepolis. What are yours?

At the cinema, it’s sometimes difficult to see a movie that’s not based on a comic book character. That’s not necessarily a great thing (witness: the newly released Suicide Squad), but it does underline the fact that there’s a lot of interest in the characters and stories from comic books.

And all this popularity isn’t without good reason. Sure, some of it is because with today’s CGI, it’s easier to make a more convincing superhero movie. But that’s not the whole story. Comic books and graphic novels are great ways to tell a story, and in particular, they are great ways to communicate visually.

Given all that, we’re going to give some thought to connections between comic books and eLearning courses in this article. That’s partly because a big part of an eLearning course relies on visual communication, and because visual communication is an especially effective way to learn.

This is the first of two articles about comic books and eLearning. In this article, we’ll give a general introduction to the idea and some connections. And in the next article, we’ll take a “deep-dive” view at the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud, and we’ll see what lessons from that book we can apply to eLearning design and learning in general.

If you want to zip ahead to the links of resources related to eLearning and comic books, they’re closer to the end of this article. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and reading the whole thing.

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Safety and Health Management Systems and Programs: Comparing ANSI Z10 to OSHA’s Upcoming Safety and Health Management “Program” Guidelines

 

This is the second article in a longer series of articles looking at Safety and Health Management in general and at ANSI Z10, the American national standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, in particular.

If you want to start with the first article, which serves as an introduction to the various standards and guidelines for occupational health and safety management, click that link you just read past.

But if you just want to dive into this article mid-stream, that’s fine too. We’re trying to present each article in the series as a logical, “bite-sized” bit of information that stands alone.

And so this article is going to look at an interesting distinction: the difference between management “systems,” such as the health and safety management system model detailed in ANSI Z10 (as well as similar guidelines for creating management systems in the upcoming ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System standard, the ISO 9000 Quality Management System standard, and the ISO 14000 Environmental Management System standard), with OSHA’s guideline for an occupational health and safety “program.”

Or, to put that in fewer words, we’re going to look at the issue of management “systems” as opposed to management “programs” in the context of occupational health and safety.

Of course, we acknowledge that the OSHA Safety and Health Management Program Guideline is not yet in final form. So it may look different when it’s final. But we’ll compare what we can compare today, and in doing so we’ll get an interesting look at the distinction between “systems” and “programs.”

(NOTE: Since we first wrote this blog post, OSHA has released their revised safety and health management program guidelines in final form. Click here to read OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs and/or download it as a PDF.)

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