Closing the Skills Gap with Structured On-The-Job Training (OJT)

skills gap structured ojt Closing the Skills Gap with Structured On The Job Training (OJT)I spend a lot of time working with new customers in the manufacturing sector who are just beginning to use our Convergence Training learning management system (LMS) at their workplace.

At many of these businesses, a large part of the workforce is older and nearing retirement. These older workers are very experienced and have a lot of knowledge about the processes, procedures, and machines in their workplace. Unfortunately, that information is typically just “in their heads” — it’s rarely written down, documented, or recorded in any way.

As these more experienced workers retire, the manufacturing companies are scrambling to hire newer, younger workers to take their place. These workers are ambitious and work hard, but they know only a fraction of the stuff they need to know to operate as effectively as the more experienced workers they’ll need to replace soon.


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New MSHA Coal Mining Dust Rule Takes Effect August 1, 2014

msha coal dust rule New MSHA Coal Mining Dust Rule Takes Effect August 1, 2014

In the early 1900s, when my grandfather was just a little boy, he left his home in Lithuania to come to America. He settled and grew up in Pennsylvania, where he worked in coal mines for many years when he was young. When he got older, he moved to Detroit, where he worked at Ford’s Willow Run plant. There, he helped to make the B-24 bombers that played a role in helping the United States come out on the right side of WWII. (My grandmother also worked on the line at Willow Run, by the way.)

But those years in the Pennsylvania coal mines caught up my with grandfather, and he passed away of black lung disease when I was just a kid. I have only a few memories of him, and my grandmother lived twenty more years as a widow.

It’s a sad story for me and my family, but it’s newsworthy because it’s common–many American miners died of black lung disease back then. But tragically, that’s not just part of the distant past. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), black lung has played a role in the death of at least 76,000 miners since 1968. In addition, more than $45 billion in federal compensation benefits has been paid to miners disabled by black lung and to their survivors. And even today, miners continue to be diagnosed with black lung–in fact, black lung rates have increased in recent years.

And that’s why MSHA published a new rule in April to lower the rates of respirable coal mine dust–the stuff that causes black lung. And that rule is set to go into effect soon–August 1, 2014.

What all that said, let’s take a closer look at this new MSHA Coal Mining Dust rule.

Need help training your miners? Check out our Learning Management System (LMS) for mine operators and our mining safety courses.


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New Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Rule Published by OSHA

new osha electrical power rule New Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Rule Published by OSHA

In case you missed it, OSHA just published a new electric power generation, transmission, and distribution rule.

To be exact, the announcement was made April 14, 2014, and the rule goes into effect on July 10, 2014 (that “go live” date is now coming up soon). But, OSHA DID delay compliance and enforcement guidelines for some of the requirements. See below for more on that.

According to OSHA, the changes:

  • Update the Electric Power Transmission and Distribution for Construction standard, issued in 1972
  • Update the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution for General Industry (Operation and Maintenance) standard, issued in 1994
  • Harmonize the two standards (general industry and construction) so the same rules apply generally to the same kinds of work
  • Update the standards so they’re based on the latest consensus standards and improvements in electrical safety technology

OSHA’s provided lots of information here. In addition, we’ve gathered that information up and presented it below (relying heavily on their handy Fact Sheet and FAQ, parts of which we’ve directly copied and pasted below so you get the words from the horse’s mouth).


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eLearning or DVD – What’s Better for Workforce Training?

elearning or dvd eLearning or DVD – What’s Better for Workforce Training?

Still using DVDs to deliver video-based training? You’re not alone; we get a lot of requests DVDs. For some people, it really is the most appropriate way for them to deliver training to their employees. But other people choose DVDs because it’s what they know and because they don’t yet understand the advantages of e-learning courses (sometimes called “CBTs”) delivered online through a learning management system (LMS).

Both DVDs and e-learning courses are essentially “video-based” training, but after that there are many significant differences. We’re often asked if it’s better to use eLearning or DVDs in a training program. At times, people who currently use DVDs ask us “why should I invest in eLearning at all?”

There are a number of reasons, really. We’ll try and address a few of them and help you decide if e-learning courses are right for your training program.

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Hooks, Slings, and Wire Ropes: Talking Rigging Safety With Howard Kaplan

rigging safety2 Hooks, Slings, and Wire Ropes: Talking Rigging Safety With Howard Kaplan

Each year in the United States about 50 people are killed in crane accidents and hundreds more are injured. These incidents are frequently attributed to poorly inspected rigging equipment and improper or unsafe rigging techniques performed by inadequately trained riggers.

During the development of our own Wire Rope Safety training videos, we were fortunate to receive some expert feedback from Howard Kaplan, trainer and owner of Liberty Crane & Rigging Consultants in Phoenix, Arizona. We recently caught up with Howard again for a brief Q&A about wire ropes, rigging safety, and the importance of proper training. (more…)

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Free PSM Checklist for Process Safety Management Compliance

psm checklist thumb Free PSM Checklist for Process Safety Management Compliance

Here’s a free PSM checklist you can download–nice! The checklist comes in four different formats: Word, .PDF, Excel, and Convergence Tasklist (that last one is for users of the Convergence LMS).

The PSM checklist is based on a PSM Compliance Checklist available on OSHA’s website. We took the information in their checklist and made some mminor changes to make it more user friendly.


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New OSHA Rules Published or Coming In Next Few Months

osha may29 New OSHA Rules Published or Coming In Next Few Months

The good folks at OSHA have been busy. They’ve got one new rule coming soon and four updated rules coming right after that. Makes me feel lazy in comparison. Let’s see what they’ve been up to.

Need help with your safety training? Check out our Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and our safety training courses.

The New OSHA Rule:

Confined Spaces in Construction. Check our Confined Spaces in Construction post for more information about this one, which OSHA says they’ll publish in August. This standard has been in the works for a looooong time. It will be interesting to see if this really goes into effect and, if it does, how smooth or bumpy the process is for those in the field. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about this!

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Better Training Through Better Visuals: Using “Special Views”

better training through visuals Better Training Through Better Visuals: Using Special Views

We have been writing a series of posts over at the OpenSesame blog about how to design visuals within training materials to help your learners learn more effectively. The series has included posts on the following graphic techniques:


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