Many customers come to us wondering if and how they can use online courses for the MSHA Part 46 training programs. In this article, we’re going to address those questions and then take a closer look at how to do it with one of the Part 46 training programs–New Miner. The same ideas, though, apply to the other training programs, such as Newly Hired Experienced Miner, New Tasks(s), Annual Refresher, and Site-Specific Hazard.
Before we begin, here are a few related articles that may help set the scene in case you’re new to MSHA or Part 46:
Now let’s take a look at a few key questions that are covered in more detail in those articles above.
The first is, “Is it OK to use online courses for MSHA Part 46 compliance?” That question is easy to answer: yes. 46.4(d) makes that clear:
“Training methods may consist of classroom instruction, instruction at the mine, interactive computer-based instruction or other innovative training methods, alternative training technologies, or any combination of training methods.“
The second question, and a reasonable one, is “Does that mean I’d use ONLY online courses for MSHA Part 46 compliance?” And the answer to that is, no. You’d use the online courses as part of your training solution along with all the other types of training you are probably already providing–instructor-led, task-based, OJT/in-the-field, safety meetings, offsite training sessions, videos, and so on. This is called a blended learning solution–read more about blended learning here.
And a third question you might ask is “Would I use off-the-shelf online courses, have custom courses made for me, or make my own e-learning courses?” And the answer to this one is, you could do any or all of that. There are many nice off-the-shelf e-learning mining safety courses that you can use in a “plug-and-play” manner for Part 46. Primarily, these are going to cover introductory and/or general materials–things like explaining what highwalls and berms are or explaining the rights and legal responsibilities of miners. In addition, you could have an e-learning producer work with you to create custom e-learning courses for your site. Or, you could buy an inexpensive software program called an e-learning authoring tool and make your own (we’ve provided instructions about how to do that here). In this article, we’ll keep in mind that you have all three options for e-learning, but the examples we’ll preview and/or link to will be off-the-shelf mine safety courses.