Forklift Safety DVD – Now Available!

We’re super happy to announce that our Forklift Safety course is now available on DVD. And if we do say so ourselves, the 3D animation and graphics are some of our best yet. We feel there’s simply no better video out there on the common hazards and safe operation of forklifts.

Click Here for a sample video focusing on the principles of forklift stability. It’s a great preview of how our 3D animation can show dynamic physical concepts that simply aren’t possible via standard video or print materials.

Here’s a sample of how our new Forklift Safety DVD is being received by industry professionals:

  • “This is by far the best visualization and explanation of forklift load shift that I have ever seen. Because the people you are training are visual and verbal learners this should go a long way.”
  • Bart Gragg, Workforce Consultant and President of Blue Collar University

Visit BuyBetterTraining.com for sample videos, more details, and to purchase our New Forklift Safety DVD.

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Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety Video Produced for Air Liquide

Last month Convergence Training was hired by Air Liquide to produce a safety training video about working with pressurized gas.

Air Liquide is a multinational producer of specialty industrial gases and also the containers that hold these gases. Air Liquide finds it valuable to give their customers the best information on how to work safely with their products. The Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety DVD is now available free of charge and can be ordered on the Air Liquide website.

The course emphasizes the most important concerns industrial workers need to know about working with pressurized gas cylinders. The info in this DVD includes:

  • General cylinder facts and information
  • Handling and transporting cylinders
  • Cylinder and specialty gas hazards
  • Indoor and outdoor cylinder storage
  • Installation and use of cylinders and equipment
  • Point-of-use cylinder safety

The course also features specific Air Liquide components, such as the SMARTOP™ and ALTOP™ canister cylinder caps. The ability of our 3D model artists to create realistic depictions of Air Liquide cylinders and components is one of the reasons Convergence Training was chosen for this project.

Also, 3D animation has certain strengths for industrial process videos like this, because we are able to depict what NOT to do much more easily than a standard live-action video can. In our Air Liquide video, we show the actual dangers (sometimes explosive) of what can occur when gas cylinders are not stored correctly, and this gives our safety training that much more impact. Air Liquide calls the DVD a “must see for anyone who uses gases under pressure.”

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New 2010 MSHA Rules on Miner Exposure to Coal Dust

Coal mine dust that is able to be breathed causes a range of diseases that are known collectively as black lung. Black lung can lead to lung impairment, permanent disability, and even death. While considerable progress has been made in reducing miners exposure to respirable coal mine dust, miners continue to develop these diseases. There has even been a rise in serious cases of these diseases occurring in younger and younger miners.

MSHA has a new rule, published in October of this year, called “Lowering Miner’s Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors”. Some major parts of the rule include:

  • lowering the existing concentration limits of breathable coal dust
  • requiring the use of a personal dust monitor
  • addressing extended work shifts
  • and expanding medical surveillance of workers
  • lowering the existing concentration limits of breathable coal dust

A very good synopsis of the rule can be seen here.

There will be six public hearings on the new rules over the next couple months. Members of the public will be able to make oral presentations and weigh in with their thoughts on the rules. Click here for the public hearing schedule.

Convergence Training will be updating our MSHA safety training videos after the respirable coal dust public hearings are finished. That way we’ll be sure to understand all of the implications of the new rules for our mining customers. If you’re currently a Convergence Training customer (or if you might be one day), follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on our MSHA- and OSHA-aligned product releases and news.

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Bad Training Sucks Merchandise Now Available from Convergence

To help spread the word about the new “training revolution”, we’ve been attending safety and training-related tradeshows across the country sporting bold new gear with the “Bad Training Sucks” slogan. The gear was such a hit at the tradeshows and so many people wanted a shirt or sticker, we figured “why not make this stuff available to everybody?” So…

We’ve added a new Merchandise section to our BuyBetterTraining online storefront where you can order T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and other soon-to-be-released goods from Convergence – producer of the most un-sucky training materials on the planet.

Check it out, pick up a shirt, and let everybody know how you feel about bad training – it sucks!

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Reducing Trade Show Costs While Giving Back to the Community

If you’ve been to a trade show then you’re probably aware of the high mark-up that is charged for equipment and furniture rental. What if you could save some of that business cost and contribute to the community at the same time? Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

Earlier this year we attended the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. While preparing to rent such common items as chairs, tables, and televisions through the trade show catalog Scott Rise, one of our sales representatives, got a bright idea. Why not purchase the items we needed for our booth and give the stuff away to a local charity when we were done with the show?

Doing a little math showed that it was indeed cheaper to buy the furniture at a Wal-Mart-type store than it would be to rent similar items at the Expo. Best of all, we’d be able to donate everything to a deserving charity afterwards.

We put this idea in action again when we attended the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in San Diego in October 2010. We contacted a charity called Alpha Project — a national nonprofit that serves the homeless and low-income population. After the Expo we donated all the booth furniture to the organization.

In turn, the Alpha Project “gave it to clients who were in the process of getting on their feet, getting an apartment, trying to get a job,” said Karen Pucci, Program Manager for the San Diego chapter of the organization. “We are truly grateful for these types of donations. The people we serve who are transitioning from homelessness can really use furniture and household goods.”

About our donations, Corey Black of the NSC had this to say: “The National Safety Council appreciates Convergence Training donating furniture they use during the NSC Congress & Expo to charities. This is one demonstration of how thinking creatively can impact others in a meaningful way.”

Seldom is there the chance to save some business costs while doing something that feels good. Thanks to Scott Rise and his outside-the-box thinking, Convergence helped (and will continue to help) deserving organizations and individuals.

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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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