The ability to schedule, communicate, develop, document, and deliver training is a critical aspect of your environmental, health, safety and emergency response program. Training familiarizes employees and responders with safety and emergency procedures, equipment, and systems, and can identify deficiencies and mitigation opportunities in emergency response planning programs.
Managing the administrative duties associated with training requirements can be time consuming and complex, particularly for large companies. With the multiple variables associated with training, many large companies implement a training and exercise management system. An emergency response planning system with a training component can ease the burdens of documentation, scheduling, and maintenance. Managing an enterprise-wide training program can be complicated by:
- Multiple fluctuating certification/expiration dates
- Diverse and varying scope of responder/employee responsibilities
- Site-specific operations and response objectives
- Maintaining company standards and best practice priorities
- Regulatory compliance measures
- Multiple facilities across several locations
- Employee turnover
Accurate and verifiable training documentation enables response plans and procedures to be implemented as intended. Training topics and specialized training includes, but is not limited to:
- Hazard and risk assessment techniques
- Selection criteria of proper personal protective equipment
- Incident reporting
- Instruction and procedures for using personal protective and emergency equipment
- Evacuation and alarm procedures
- Specific roles and responsibilities in according to response scenarios (i.e. fire, explosion, severe weather)
- An understanding of the role of the first responder in an emergency (i.e. First Responder Operations Level)
- Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources available
- Relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures
- Principles of the Incident Command System
Training and exercise administrative requirements may be dictated by company policy, site operations, hazardous material response needs, or governmental agencies. In addition to yearly response plan reviews and scheduled updates; training documentation modifications may be required:
- After each training drill or exercise
- After each emergency
- When personnel or response tasks change
- When the layout or design of the facility changes
- When policies or procedures change
Continual administrative duties associated with personnel training documentation may be timely or inadequately performed, jeopardizing regulatory compliance or the sustainability of an optimal emergency management program. Maximizing efficiency through advancements in technology can minimize administrative maintenance time. An enterprise-wide training and exercise management system can:
- Improve regulatory compliance by comparing actual training dates to required training frequencies
- Reduces costs by incorporating all training and exercise records and documentation into an existing database already being utilized for your emergency planning system.
- Provide reporting tools to identify personnel requiring training, generate lists of completed training per person, and document all training completed.
- Automatically generate training agenda and certificates for each scheduled training session
- Simplify communication to attendees by generating emails regarding training requirement reminders, class agendas,
- Initiate scheduled training requirement reminders to each facility. A comprehensive system will allow for developing a customized email message that will be automatically sent to a list of personnel for a selected time period (example monthly).
Technology has bolstered the availability and popularity of online training. However, depending on the certification, trainees often must complete corresponding classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. But regardless of the training format, employers must document certifications and verify site-specific response comprehension.
Companies should require annual site-specific training, and routinely implement unannounced emergency drills and scheduled response exercises. Annual refresher training should cover current industry and in-house emergency operating experience; changes in emergency operations plans, policies, procedures, and equipment; as well as, familiarize employees and responders with response procedures, equipment, and systems. Annual training events can be used as a trigger for discussions and feedback on the company’s emergency management program, drills, and exercises. These discussions often cultivate an environment of safety and preparedness, identify mitigation opportunities, and possibly, training deficiencies.