I am always amazed when asked the question; “Why do I need refresher training, when I have been doing this job every day?” Many people have the belief that if they do a job day in and day out, they should not need refresher training or that the need for this training does not apply to them. For the record, I want to state that this attitude or belief is patently false. A lack of refresher training opens an organization to liability, fines, and other issues.
As a quick refresher, any compressed gas over 29psi, is considered HAZMAT by the federal government. Any employee that fills, handles, or is likely to be affected by this HAZMAT is considered a HAZMAT Employee and the DOT has specified the training requirements this type of employee.
Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 172.704 lists the various types of training required for hazmat employees. This training includes function-specific training, general awareness training, and training in safety and security awareness. 49 CFR 172.704 also requires that employees retake their training at least once every three years. Depending on the organization it may also require that employees undergo recurrent training for their regulations even sooner. It is up to the individual organization to conduct this training (either through their own trainers or through an outside training agency) and certify that their employees have received this training.
As the saying goes, there is a method to the madness. Refresher training plays an important part in the health and safety of the employees. One of the most important reasons for refresher training is that federal regulations can change since the last time training was conducted. The DOT reviews and revises 49 CFR every year. Likewise, other governing agencies update their own regulations, normally on an annual basis. Occasionally, if the change is vital to the safety of an employee, the regulations might be updated outside of the normal review period. Some of these changes may be small, while others can be significant. However, it does not matter how major or minor these alterations may be. Anyone involved in the hazardous materials transportation process must know all of them. Remember, ignorance of the law is not an excuse when it comes to an investigation. Refresher training allows them to stay on top of everything that is new and different in this field.
In addition to educating the HAZMAT employee to new regulations, refresher training helps to reinforce the training they have received in the past. Occasional refresher training helps the employee remember information and tasks that are vital to their job, yet might not be performed every day. By both updating the employee’s knowledge, and reinforcing skills and knowledge previously learned, safety of an organization is strengthened. This safety benefits everyone, to include employees, employers, shippers, receivers, and even innocent bystanders. Because of this, recurrent training should be looked at as an investment in the business, and a properly trained employee as a valuable asset to the workforce.
An organization should properly manage the training of employees and schedule refresher training when needed. American Cylinder and Safety is happy to help. We can provide training in all of the required types. We can accomplish this through coming to your facility, or through online options. Contact us today to schedule your training or answer your questions.