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Emerald recycles and manages over 31 million gallons of used oil and industrial fluids annually.

Simplifying Complex Compliance Training

Emerald Services is the largest locally-owned recycler of fluids and solvents in the northwestern United States, processing more than 10 million gallons of waste oil, solvents, and manufactured antifreeze annually. Along with their two sister companies, they provide oil & gas recycling, food waste collection, and composting services for much of the northwestern United States.

Company: Emerald Services

Industry: Environmental Services

Region: Northwest US

Users: 300+

Solutions: Convergence Enterprise LMS

Website: www.emeraldrenews.com

Managing Complex Regulatory Training Requirements

The nature and variety of Emerald’s services means they’re subject to the strict training requirements and regulatory oversight of a large number of disparate agencies and organizations including the Coast Guard, OSHA, DOT, PHMSA, and more.

With over three hundred employees in four states, across three different industries, Emerald needed a training solution that would allow them to create and track complex training profiles that would meet a number of unique compliance requirements.

“Convergence allowed us to set up different training plans for each division, each company, each industry we’re working on, and to track it in real time,” explains Kevin Schaps, Safety & Compliance Director at Emerald Services. “The training data is always up-to-date and it’s far more accurate than if we were trying to keep track of this in an Excel spreadsheet.”

Emerald also has been able to easily distribute training administration duties, with Schaps handling safety training, and the Environmental and Human Resources departments each managing their own training assignments within the Convergence system.

On-Demand Compliance Reporting

Reporting capabilities were also important to Emerald. Safety or environmental incidents and surprise inspections by regulators require Schaps and his colleagues to be able to quickly provide training records to demonstrate compliance. With the Convergence LMS they’re able to generate training records for an individual, a site, or even for the entire organization with the click of a button.

Additionally, many of Emerald’s customers require site-specific hazard training be completed before Emerald’s employees can begin working at their site. Schaps says Emerald’s customers are frequently impressed by the training data they receive.

“I usually send over the Qualification Requirement Report, which shows not just the requirement, but also each individual training activity for that requirement” says Schaps. “So, you’re not just seeing that ‘Employee A’ was trained in confined space entry, you’re seeing that he did confined space entry attendant training, supervising training, entrance training…all the activities within our confined space entry requirement. I get really good feedback from customers about that, because they can see more detail about what our guys are actually trained to do.”

Emerald Services plant image

Saving Time, Saving Money

It’s no secret – training costs money. And in industries that require frequent training, either for compliance or for skill-development, it can cost a lot of money. Emerald looked to Convergence for a way to reduce the cost of their existing training program.

“We paid a lot of overhead costs and overtime costs,” says Schaps. “Non-billable hours because of training, doing Saturday meetings, overtime we paid to get groups together to do training in the past… Convergence has saved us money by allowing us to work training into our employees’ jobs.”

Emerald now adds training tasks to their employee’s list of daily tasks. For instance, a driver will be scheduled for four stops in the morning, followed by an afternoon session at one of Emerald’s training centers. After they’ve completed their morning route, the individual can log into the computer, take their training, and be done. All in the course of a normal day, and without the need to organize a large training session during overtime hours.

Convergence allowed us to set up different training plans for each division, each company, each industry we’re working on, and to track it in real time.

-Kevin Schaps, Health & Safety Compliance Director, Emerald Services

Importing & Creating Custom Training Content

Although Emerald found the Convergence LMS ideal for creating and managing classroom-based and field-based training activities, they have come to appreciate the self-guided nature and built-in assessments of computer-based training modules. While they’ve been able to purchase courses to cover many of their training requirements, Emerald has also found it necessary to develop custom materials to meet some of their more specific training needs. Fortunately, the Convergence LMS supported this requirement as well.

“What I really like about Convergence is—and the one thing that sold me on it that I sold my management group on—is that I can create and upload my own internal material, at no cost, and deliver and report on that training just like everything else in the Convergence system,” says Schaps. “I looked at three or four other LMS platforms and none of them offered that.”

Developing a Consistent Message

With multiple facilities across the northwest, Emerald used to rely on a number of different trainers to lead their compliance training. While they developed training content to be delivered the same way by each trainer, it was difficult to determine if that was actually happening.

“In the past,” says Schaps, “we’d provide the materials to the manager, but we wouldn’t know how that training was delivered, or how effective it was. Convergence, for the most part, has unified our training across the board. Every employee is getting the same message, the same type of training, and we’re able to use the Quiz Manager to make quizzes that show us if people understand what they’re being taught.”

Emerald Services worker image

Getting Everyone Involved

For many organizations, delivering a consistent training message is a common challenge. Employee competency in reading, writing, or computer skills can vary widely within a single company. If you’re using written or computer-based training materials, it can have a significant impact on an employee’s ability to absorb their training.

The Convergence LMS was designed to be easy for learners to use, and Emerald has received positive feedback from both employees and management about how simple and intuitive the system is, even for non-native English speakers.

I have some employees that don’t speak English as a first language or have never used a computer and the system is user-friendly enough that those with no technical skill or basic skill on a computer can get on after five minutes of instruction and go through their training,” says Schaps.

“And then for the people that don’t speak English as a first language, having Convergence support documents or CBT’s in multiple languages is huge, because now I don’t have to recreate the same document five times in five different languages. Now, they log in, they click on a training, they select what language they want it in, and away they go."

What I really like about Convergence is—and the one thing that sold me on it that I sold my management group on—is that I can create and upload my own internal material, at no cost, and deliver and report on that training just like everything else in the Convergence system,” says Schaps. “I looked at three or four other LMS platforms and none of them offered that.

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