Death, Money and Facts for American Surface Mines

Good News
In 2008, the number of fatalities at U.S. surface mines dropped to a record low of 28. Great!

Bad News
28 American surface miners needlessly lost their lives. Not so great.

More Bad News
For that same year, MSHA slammed surface mines with a record $194 million in penalties. That’s 2.6 times the amount for the previous year.

Last year (2008) was an all time low for surface mine deaths in the U.S. totaling only 28 lives. This statistic shows us that with the proper safety training we can reduce the number of deaths and injuries. At the same time, this also points out the loss of 28 surface miners which could have potentially been avoided with proper training.

As surface mine operators subject to MSHA Part 46 regulations, you should be aware of the heavy fines for safety and health violations. In 2008 MSHA assessed 198,700 penalties for violations, compared to the 130,100 violations in the previous year. The dollar amount for all these penalties in 2008 was $194 million, compared to just $74.5 million in 2007. Penalties of this magnitude indicate that MSHA is being proactive in assessing mine safety and health and that remaining out of compliance poses huge financial risks for those willing to gamble.

According to MSHA, the root cause of the 28 U.S. surface mine deaths was attributed to:

  • Inadequate training
  • No risk assessment conducted
  • Inadequate policies, procedures, and controls
  • Not using personal protective equipment
  • Lack of pre-operation checks
  • Not maintaining equipment
  • Failure to conduct examinations

Record low deaths of surface miners and record high penalties for violations of safety and health go hand in hand. We see that MSHA has raised awareness in order to save lives by increasing enforcement and handing out $194 million in penalties.

At Convergence Training, we feel very strongly that we can help improve surface mine safety while keeping mine operators compliant with MSHA Part 46 training requirements. Everybody wins when miners get to go home to their families and mine operators lower their costs.

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Will Libraries Be Around in 10 Years? 20? 50?

I read a really interesting blog post on replacing library books and text books with digital textbooks. The article made some really good points, and I’d like to re-spin them here, of course giving full credit to Thomas Curtis, the original author. Read the full article here.

Here is a summary of what I took away from his article:

Why pay up to $100 for an average textbook that could be missing really important events only a short time after printing?
Electronic versions are cheaper and can be updated with current events such as the Iraq war, the country’s first Afican American president, and the decoding of the human genome to name a few that have occured in the last six years.

When studying a textbook, how often do you read the entire thing versus manually searching for specific pieces of information?
Every wish you could use CTRL+F (the keyboard shorcut for ‘Find’) on a textbook and search for information? 🙂

What hours is your library open, and how many copies can they have of each book?
Digital textbooks could be available 24/7 and available to an unlimited number of people (possibly limited by licensing)

I really liked the ideas in the article and hope more people can think outside the box on the future of textbooks for our students. Similar questions can be asked to paper mills and industrial facilities:

  • How many copies of user manuals or safety books does your site have sitting in a room somewhere?
  • If someone needs access to it, can they get it?
  • Can they quickly find the specific information they need?
  • What if someone else has it checked out or sitting on their desk?
  • How up to date is it?

Has your site done anything outside-of-the-box to help make information accessible? Let us know!

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An Online LMS for Way Less Than a Trip to the Emergency Room

Convergence Training is bringing safety training tools to just about any business. Soon, pretty much any company will be able to train, track, report, and get important notifications anywhere at any time for way less than a trip to the ER.

Convergence WebExpress is our new Internet-based training delivery and management system. It’s an online learning management system, or LMS, without the expensive servers or sophisticated software. Keep reading to find out more.

Old School LMS
As veterans of complex technical LMS installations, we’ve known for years that a company’s fundamental training needs don’t change as they grow. They just get bigger. They just need more people trained more times in more places with reports sent to more people.

And while just about any organization could benefit from the features provided by many LMSs, the costs of these systems fall astronomically beyond the budgets of most small to medium sized enterprises. So in the past, you had to be big enough to justify the hardware and software investment.

We’re changing all that.

New School Web Tools – Convergence WebExpress
For less than 10% of the cost of the average emergency room visit, any company will be able to access our entire library of courses to train an employee for a full year. That’s all 28 Environmental, Health and Safety courses and our complete set of 27 Surface Miner Training topics.

You’ll get a scalable solution and cost structure that fits your budget with a versatile set of courses and centralized training management tools.

24/7 Training
Administer required training anytime, anywhere via the Internet. Since it’s online, we can update or add training content at any time. No more 80’s VHS tapes or scratched DVDs to deal with. No in-house IT resource costs. Just relevant, affordable, accessible, and effective training.

Call Us For A Demo
Give us a call or send us an email to get a free demo account set up. Kick the tires and make sure it’s right for your business. No strings attached.

1.888.634.7346 – Toll Free

View a WebExpress Training Plan


See the Administrative Interface


Check out a Compliance Report

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Driver and Vehicle Safety Images Now in Course Catalog

The course catalog inside of Convergence Training Viewer has been updated with a preview of our driver safety series courses (Defensive Driving, Seatbelt Safety, and Vehicle Preparedness). While these courses are still under development, we wanted to include them in our catalog to show everyone what is in the works.

Below, check out a screen shot of the catalog page in CTV:

Did you know that Convergence Training Viewer is a free mini-LMS for your desktop?
It can import courses, track results, and even track non-computer training events – and its FREE! Check it out or give us a call today. We would love to get your feedback.

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A DRIVING Force in the Training Industry – Convergence Plans New Driving Courses

More than 2,300 Americans died in 2007 from occupational transportation accidents. That’s 2 out of every 5 work-related deaths for the year.

In other words, that’s:
– 2,300 times the number of fatal shark attacks worldwide
– 127 times the number of U.S. skydiving deaths
– 51 times the number of fatal U.S. lightning strikes
– Or over 3 times the number of global airline fatalities for that same year

But you don’t need to trudge through the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or be a safety expert to know that number is way too high. The worst part is that virtually all of those accidents were avoidable.

As a company focused on positively impacting the safety training industry, Convergence Training constantly looking for new opportunities to help our customers reduce accidents and ultimately saving lives.

Everyone knows that safe driving habits can reduce or even avoid tragic human costs, but improving commercial driving safety also makes solid business sense. So, we plan to release our new Commercial Driving Safety series in late-August.

The first course in our Commercial Driving Safety series will be Introduction to Defensive Driving, followed by Seat Belt Safety and Vehicle Preparedness. Introduction to Defensive Driving will cover the fundamental concepts of collision avoidance, economics of safe driving, and vehicle knowledge. And as you’ve come to expect, our material will represent the insights, regulations, and best practices of leading organizations, including the National Safety Council, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and OSHA.

Do you have suggestions for other safety training courses that would make your life easier or safer? We want to hear from you. Call or email us to let us know what you need.

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My Five Favorite E-Learning Resources

Just last week, I was asked for a list of the top blogs/learning resources that I follow/frequent. Here is a list of the 5 sites that I have found helpful and full of great information. I subscribe to these via RSS which will deliver updates directly to Outlook and my phone.

Here is my list:

What are some of your favorite eLearning or training sites? Drop me an email or comment and let me know what I’m missing out on!

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Asbestos Awareness Updated

In our continuing effort to provide our customers with relevant and accurate training material, we’ve recently updated our Asbestos Awareness DVD and CBT products. If you have purchased a DVD (or our complete EHS DVD Set), we’ve just ordered new copies to be sent free of charge.

If you previously purchased an Asbestos Awareness DVD, please replace it with the newly updated version you’ll receive soon. If you purchased an EHS DVD Set, please use the newly updated DVD in place of the Asbestos Awareness module on Disk 1.

View our full line of training courses


Changes to the asbestos course include updates to regulatory information, clarified legislation history, improved graphics and updated 3D renders.

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Convergence Training Visits Southeast

Convergence Training will be meeting with prospective and current pulp and paper clients in a weeklong trip to the Southeast. We will be traveling through Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

If you would like to schedule a meeting with a Convergence representative in your area, visit our Contact Us page and let us know.

We look forward to our trip and meeting with everyone!

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Printable Tests in PDF Format (from XPS)

Recently we’ve been getting more and more great feedback from our customers. We love to get feedback because it helps us develop better products and services for you, our customers.

Some customers have had trouble recently using our printable tests and answer guides. Currently, they are in XPS format which is an open and trustworthy format most useful for Microsoft Office 2007 users. Internet Explorer can view XPS documents, and there is even a free XPS Viewer software. Despite those viewing options, some of our customers don’t want to download additional software and are having trouble using the XPS files. To help those customers out, we have spent the time to upgrade our documents to PDF.

Now, all the tests, answer guides, and certificates for our EHS and MSHA DVD courses are available in PDF format. We have also added a name and date field for the tests. The new documents will be available online soon, but if you need them now, feel free to send us an email or give us a call and we can get them to you right away.

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Convergence Blog is Back from Vacation

I’ve just returned from a completely disconnected vacation outside of Moyie Springs, ID. I had no cell phone reception, no internet, and no email – it was a wonderful break but I’m back and realizing that I’ve missed a couple of blog posts. I’ll be back on top of things and posting regularly again from here out.

Upcoming events include launching our Pay-Per-View training, launching our reseller programs, launching our commercial web-based training platform, additions of new courses to our library, and updates to some of our courses such as Asbestos Awareness.

Thanks for staying tuned in!

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Convergence Server Learning Management System (LMS) Installed at Pulp and Paper-Making Facility in Southeastern United States

Representatives of Convergence Training recently visited an pulp and paper-making facility facility in Southern California to install the Convergence Server Learning Management System and Scout, the mobile training device from Convergence.

Installation of the Convergence Server LMS was quick and seamless, with most all processes completed within one day. With the Learning Management System installed on the company’s network, Convergence representatives trained the personnel at the pulp and paper-making facility to use the new system. The personnel from the facility, including members of the Training, Human Relations, and Information Technology departments, quickly grasped the concepts, aided by the intuitive design and interface of Convergence Server.

In follow-up discussions, the training staff at the facility has informed Convergence that the system is performing well under test conditions, that they are pleased with the power and ease-of-use that Convergence Server offers to them and their employees, and reports that they will convert the management and delivery of their training materials to Convergence Server in the near future.

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Evaporator Principles Course Preview

We’ve been working hard to create some nice visuals for our upcoming evaporator training modules. We put together a few of the concepts to get a preview and I wanted to post a video showing what we’ve got so far. Keep in mind, it will continue to be revised and improved, and the final course will combine the base models with camera movements, animations, text and professional audio to accurately describe the function and behavior of evaporator internals. Check out the preview below:

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