Forklift Training on Safety and Reducing Load Damage – Coming Soon

We’re just finishing up our Forklift Safety video and we’ll soon start work on our Reducing Product Damage Due to Forklift Handling module (we’re looking for a snappier course title if anyone’s got one). Our writers have been researching the most up-to-date OSHA forklift regulations and the recognized industry best practices. Considering the research we’ve put into these courses, we’re confident that they’re going to be valuable tools for anyone operating or working near forklifts.

As research for our module on reducing forklift damage to loads, our writers contacted companies that represented a wide range of industries – food manufacturing, pulp-and-paper, timber, and appliance manufacturing, to name a few. Some were our clients; some were contacts we made specifically for this project. Specifically, we talked to the employees at those companies who work in material handling and warehousing. We asked these employees about the most common load damage problems they see at their worksites that stem from forklift handling. After gathering all of this information, we spent a significant amount of time boiling these problems down to the most common forklift-handling problems that applied across many industries.

While it’s easy to find a lot of training on forklift safety, we’re not aware of another product out there that is focused on load damage prevention in the way ours will be. While worker safety is obviously the most important aspect of forklift operation, damage to product can be a very significant operating cost in both direct and indirect ways. (One example of indirect cost would be customer dissatisfaction resulting from unnoticed product damage. Another example of indirect cost would be a kind of “Broken Windows Effect”, where neglecting the smaller problem of product damage might have an impact on the greater issue of general safety awareness.) We definitely felt that this was an overlooked issue in most forklift orientation programs.

A major contributor to our forklift projects has been F. G. (Rick) Heath, a material handling and lifting equipment expert. Rick’s background includes consulting on a range of industrial subjects, from fabrication and construction to standards and regulations. He serves on several committees for organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the Scaffold Industry Association (SIA), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). He also serves as an expert witness for litigation involving hoists, cranes, jacks, forklifts, and aerial work platforms. Rick has been a great help in giving us feedback on our industrial equipment modules, and we thank him for contributing his knowledge to our efforts.

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Press Release – Capstone Technology Relocates to Handle Expected Growth

Convergence Training moved into new offices in Vancouver, Washington on September 27th. The new 20,000 square-foot office building will house Convergence’s new operations while giving them sufficient room for planned growth.

Convergence, a provider of multimedia training material and learning management software, is a division of Capstone Technology. Capstone moved from an office in downtown Camas, Washington that was only 9,000 square feet. Located on a single floor above a hardware store, the company was continually pressed to find space for their growing workforce. Said CEO Ron Baldus, “We had people shoehorned into every nook and cranny.”

Capstone currently has 80 employees and is in the process of hiring more. Much of the new growth in the company has come from Convergence. In the coming year, Capstone plans to add ten new positions; most of these jobs will be centered on Convergence sales and marketing.

For more information about the move and about Convergence and Capstone, read this article recently published in the Boston Business Journal.

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Don’t Get Burned: Prepare for National Fire Safety Month in October

October is National Fire Safety Month. Get prepared by making sure your collection of fire safety training materials is complete. Convergence Training has two CBT fire safety training modules to help keep the flames at bay: Fire Safety, a 23-minute module focused on 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L, and Fire Extinguisher Safety, a 14-minute module focused on 29 CFR 191.157.

See a clip from our Fire Safety training video on YouTube.

Both CBT (computer-based training) modules are SCORM compliant and feature the state-of-the-art 3D animation that has made Convergence Training the industry leader. Visit www.buybettertraining.com to view samples and purchase copies.

From the “Did-You-Know?” Department:

Fire safety isn’t just important—it’s historically interesting, too. Convergence Training’s crack research department has dug up two fire-related historical factoids for you.

National Fire Safety Month has its roots in the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Read more about the Great Chicago Fire here.

The fire is represented by one of the four stars on the flag of the city of Chicago – read more about the flag here.

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New Hot Work Safety Training Module in Development

Our new Hot Work Safety training module is now in production and will be available for sale shortly.

The Hot Work Safety module is based on relevant regulations, including OSHA’s 1910 Subpart Q, 1915 Subpart D, and NFPA’s 51B. It is relevant for jobs involving welding, cutting, grinding, brazing, and any other work activity that uses an open flame or creates sparks or heat that could create a fire

Topics covered include:
  • The definition of hot work
  • The hot work permit and permit requirements
  • The roles of management, the permit issuer (or permit-authorizing individual), the hot work operator, and the fire watch
  • Designated hot work areas and permit-required hot work areas
  • Hot work in confined spaces
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing considerations
  • Hot work and contractors

The new module will include everything you’ve come to expect from Convergence Training, including SCORM compliance, engaging 3D animations, clear and concise audio, unscored progress review questions for self-assessment, and a robust test bank for assessment purposes.

Check back for updates as production continues, and we’ll be sure to announce when the new Hot Work Safety module is available for sale.

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OSHA “Virtual Stakeholders” Combustible Dust Chat Recap

In case you missed it, the folks at OSHA recently held a “virtual stakeholders” web chat to discuss issues related to upcoming combustible dust regulations with concerned industry members.

OSHA began the chat by identifying these key items for discussion, with a goal of eliciting industry thoughts and opinions:

  • Definition of combustible dust and use of Kst values
  • Use of performance-based and specification-based approaches towards regulations
  • Special considerations for grain handling facilities and grain dust
  • Costs and benefits of proposed regulations

In responding to questions posed during the chat, OSHA also addressed the following:

  • Explosibility testing facilities (likely to remain private)
  • Increased hazards during plant clean-ups (they’re looking for input on engineering and administrative controls)
  • Role that NFPA standards on combustible dust will play in OSHA regulations (they may influence OSHA’s thinking)
  • Outreach training (OSHA plans to develop and provide it)
  • Employee participation in testing (OSHA seeks input)
  • Hazard communication issues regarding combustible dust (OSHA is currently revising its standard for hazard communication and will seek to make the revised hazard communication standard and new combustible dust standard be consistent)
  • Combustible dust regulation in areas without containment (they would still apply, as deflagration and flash fire risk still exist)

In the chat, OSHA explains that their “next step is to initiate the review under the small business regulatory enforcement fairness act (SBREFA) in April 2011.” Until then, check the chat history at http://www.dol.gov/dol/chat/chat-osha-20100628.htm, view the follow-up questions on the Department of Labor’s new blog at http://social.dol.gov/blog/ (try searching for “combustible dust” at that page), and stay tuned for more from OSHA in April, 2011.

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BuyBetterTraining.com – Pushing the limits of e-commerce.

We’re happy to have been recently profiled by Znode for our work on our BuyBetterTraining.com online storefront.

BuyBetterTraining.com is powered by Znode software, and the company sat down to interview our own Kenny Della Valle and Bjorn Ansbro for a case study that details how Convergence has been able to successfully extend and customize Znode software to fit our e-commerce needs and to drive sales.

The case study is up on the Znode website, and can also be viewed by clicking the link below.

View Znode’s BuyBetterTraining.com case study.

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Training Will Address New OSHA Crane Regulations

The new OSHA regulations on crane operation and certification just came out last week. Understandably, there are a lot of people interested in how this will affect them. In OSHA’s words, “approximately 267,000 construction, crane rental, and crane certification establishments employing about 4.8 million workers will be affected by this rule.” It’s one of OSHA’s biggest regulation overhauls in decades.

The new regulations only affect work having to do with construction. General industry work is not affected and will remain governed by the current standard. It’s important to understand the nature of what constitutes “construction work” by OSHA standards. If you are not familiar with these distinctions, I’d recommend reading this OSHA document on construction vs. maintenance/service work.

The major changes in the new regulations include:

• Federal requirements for the certification of crane operators
• Requirements for third-party crane operator certifiers
• Increased crane inspection requirements
• Requirements for working near electricity
• More rules for assembling/disassembling cranes
• New requirements for inspecting ground conditions prior to a lift
• Qualifications for riggers and signalpersons
• New requirements for using synthetic slings

You can read the full OSHA regulations by clicking here. If you’re very interested, you can read more about how the new regulations were agreed upon and how the specific changes were made by clicking here. Also, there’s a really good question and answer session OSHA held recently that’s very informative.

We’ve ramped up our production schedule to get out our new crane training modules out as soon as we can. We’re currently working on getting the storyboards aligned with the new rules. Two of our planned modules are entitled “Overhead Crane Training” and “Mobile Crane Training”. We’re also considering modules specifically about working around electricity and assembling/disassembling booms, because those are the two leading causes of death in crane-related incidents. We also might add a general module about rigging and slings.

Overhead cranes aren’t affected too much by the new OSHA regulations, just because the new regs only apply to construction work, and not to general industry. Mobile cranes and tower cranes will of course be greatly impacted.

All regulations related to crane maintenance, crane operation, and qualifications for signalpersons and riggers will take effect November 8, 2010. Crane operators will have up to four years to meet the new certification requirements.

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Warehouse Set Preview on YouTube

Check out this preview of our new virtual warehouse set. The 3D environment is based on the warehouses of several of our clients. This set is going to get a lot of use in our upcoming “Forklift Safety” and “Overhead Crane Safety” training modules, due for release later this year.

Ultimately, the warehouse exterior will be fully modeled, featuring several other types of vehicles for upcoming training on mobile cranes and tower cranes. Check back to our blog for new videos, current events, and sneak peeks into future releases.

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Convergence at ASSE Safety Expo 2010

Hey everybody!  We’re here in Baltimore at the Safety 2010 Expo, getting people excited about our cutting-edge training materials. We’ve got a great booth set up, so if you’re in the industry, in the area, or planning on going to the show, stop by to see our stuff and how it compares to the rest of what’s out there.

Plus! Enter to win an iPad or a flat-screen tv. Plus! Massage chairs. Plus! Randy, Scott, and Bjorn from Convergence and the best safety training videos on the market.

The Convergence booth. Head-to-head competition between “The Best” and “The Rest”.

Some of our OSHA and MSHA training DVDs, along with the TV we’re raffling off.
Check out our web-delivery option for your training needs. See it on the iPad. Win the iPad!

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Convergence Server Enterprise – Key Features

We’re closing in on the release of Convergence Server Enterprise, the dramatically updated version of our Convergence Server Learning Management System. As we make the final preparations for launch, we’d like to take the opportunity to break down some of the key features of Convergence Server Enterprise, and to show you just what it is that sets our new LMS apart from the rest.

Brand new look and feel

The most apparent improvements to Convergence Server Enterprise are the new, graphics-rich user interface and gloriously refined organizational structure of the application as a whole. A lot of care went into making Convergence Server Enterprise perform faster and more efficiently. Not only that, we wanted it to feel faster. And boy, does it ever. From the convenience of the fixed menu, to the carefully considered visual design, to the helpfully placed breadcrumb navigation – This is the smartest, fastest, most versatile learning management system on the market.

New Features:

  • Sleek, modern color scheme
  • Single-page feel. No getting lost in popup after popup.
  • Brightly colored icons to aid navigation
  • “Help” features easily accessible throughout the system

Multi-site capability

Much has been done to support the new multi-site capability of Convergence Server Enterprise. The old application’s basic, sometimes difficult method of defining and maintaining training groups has been transformed into a robust and flexible system that is easy to maintain from the corporate office all the way down to the individual user.

New Features:

  • Allows a single company to administer training for multiple sites on a single install
  • Breadcrumb navigation helps administrators quickly switch between working locations
  • “Jump To” functionality built into grids and detail pages allows you to switch locations with minimal effort
  • Each level of the organization can be renamed to fit your structure – if you have Crews instead of Teams – no problem

Easy-to-use content “Library”

Convergence Server Enterprise uses a new “Library” model that allows administrators to quickly and easily organize large quantities of training objects. Training objects (courses, documents, tasks, etc) are grouped into Activities, Categories and Curricula. Once your library is organized, it will be easy to assign training using our new “Qualifications”.

 

New Features:

  • Quicker and easier way to manage training and training materials
  • Built with Enterprise clients in mind, but easy enough for single sites
  • New structure simplifies reporting needs
  • Once organized, assigning training from the library is dramatically simplified

Versatile qualification-building system.

Convergence Server Enterprise establishes qualifications as a single entity that may contain multiple requirements. For instance, to qualify to operate Paper Machine #9, you may require that an employee completes 4 separate requirements. To be considered “Qualified”, you can designate the number of items that must be completed, or the amount of training time that must be accumulated. Once your Qualifications have been created, they can be assigned to any level of your organization with customized schedules, due dates, and expiration dates.

New Features:

  • Build reusable Requirements that include courses, classes, tasks, quizzes or documents
  • Qualifications include one or more Requirements
  • Set completion of qualification by number, or by accumulated time
  • Assign qualifications to specific users or to entire user departments, sites, or organization
  • Start dates, due dates, and expiration dates are much more flexible and easy to use

Revised user permissions handling

Convergence Server Enterprise includes a much more flexible engine for handling system-wide administrative permissions. Permissions can be assigned at any level in the organization, including directly to individual users, and can be configured so managers’ read/write permissions are restricted to profiles and reports belonging to their department only. The system can accommodate very complex custom configurations, and several pre-configured roles will also be available out of the box.

New Features:

  • Context-based permissions handling. Set permissions by user, by department, or by site.
  • Offers support for very complex configurations
  • Out of the box roles include Team Manager, Department Manager, Site Manager, Region Manager, Instructor, Report Viewer

Expanded reporting functions.

The reporting functions in Convergence Server Enterprise have been have been re-imagined and re-designed to provide greater speed and flexibility in communicating employee progress. Select your employees, choose a report format, and generate transcripts that detail employee progress in the completion of assigned courses, classes and tasks. Program the report to go out once, or at daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.

New Features

  • Schedule recurring reports with custom schedules for daily, weekly, or monthly reports
  • Export reports in multiple formats (PDF, Excel, TIFF, HTML)
  • Simplified SQL Reporting services make it easier to modify and create
  • reports

Conclusion

There you have it – a breakdown of some of the exciting new features of Convergence Server Enterprise. There will be more to come as we continue moving forward toward release, but, in the meantime, feel free to leave us feedback here on the blog, or contact us directly regarding any questions you may have about Convergence Server Enterprise.

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Visit Convergence at the 2010 ASSE Safety Expo in Baltimore for a chance to WIN an iPad!

Come visit Convergence Training (booth #2554) at the ASSE Safety 2010 Expo in the Baltimore Convention Center from June 13th through the 15th, 2010 and you just could win an iPad or one of several other cool prizes.

Kick back in one of our massage chairs, put your feet up, and see how our stuff compares with the rest of the industry. We’ll be demonstrating our latest online enterprise-level learning management system and showing some newly-released clips of some of our best work. If you’re used to what the training industry’s been dishing out for the past few decades, our stuff may just blow your mind. And that’s where the massage chairs come in…

Click here for directions and other info

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EHS Course Development Survey

Here at Convergence Training, we work on a pretty tight schedule. With loads of custom training projects in production, our writers are busy scripting and storyboarding and our artists are hard at work modeling and designing the dynamic 3D courses we’re so proud to produce.

At the same time, we’re continuing to build our retail safety and compliance library. At a recent planning meeting, we developed a diverse list of candidates for production in the coming months.

But now we need your help. Since we can’t make all these courses at once, we’d love to hear what you think. What’s on our list that you need the most? Anything not on the list that you’d like to see us put our spin on?

Take the poll or leave a comment and let us know what you’d like to see next.

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