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21st-Century Safety Solutions

New cloud-based software eases the burden of safety training

by Matt Airhart
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Ensuring your lab employees have met their required training obligations and are in compliance with hazard communication (HazCom) standards places a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Fortunately, new technology is available to ease the burden.

Cloud-based software makes it easy to install a solution without the need for IT involvement or long and expensive implementations. Now, lab supervisors and chemical hygiene officers responsible for environment, health, and safety (EHS) have a host of available options for managing safety training and critical chemical hazard information in ways that are faster, easier, and more affordable than traditional paper-based methods. More efficient software systems enable lab workers to stay current on training with less disruption to productivity, can provide simpler access to safety data sheets (SDSs), and reduce the burden of tracking and reporting on EHS activities.

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The following are three quick ways technology alleviates laboratory safety training concerns.

Training flexibility and reach

With lab workers operating on different shifts and often on tight schedules, it can be difficult to bring employees together for classroom or group trainings. Complicating matters are the wide variety of state, federal, or specific facility-based regulations that cover lab activities. Even when it is possible to get employees together for training, it’s difficult to ensure they have grasped all the necessary information.

Training software offers on-demand instruction to help solve these issues, allowing lab safety managers to assign and administer modular courses as needed and confirm training requirements are being met with at-a-glance management and completion tracking. Workers can complete training on their own schedules and at their own pace, allowing them to better comprehend the material.

Lab standard and HazCom compliance

Access to hazardous chemical information, like that found on SDSs and workplace labels, goes hand in hand with laboratory training and is vital to worker safety. The SDS in particular provides the necessary information for employees to put their training into action, such as required personal protection equipment, proper chemical handling and storage, and spill response procedures. Employees must be trained on the HazCom standard and/ or the OSHA Lab Standard in general, including how to avoid any dangers associated with the hazardous chemicals they work with, what to do in the event of an incident, and where and how to access the lab’s SDSs and chemical hygiene plans.

Chemical management software solutions streamline employee right-to-know access, making it faster and easier to access SDS inventories via a web-based system versus searching through paper binders. With better access to critical chemical safety information, employees can remain focused on applying the training they’ve received to their daily tasks.

Day-to-day safety briefings

Frequent safety meetings have been shown to directly reduce the number of severe workplace incidents by conveying present concerns and reminding workers of the training they’ve previously received. Unfortunately, coordinating and managing safety meetings can be a real challenge. Just finding the time to bring everyone together, staying on topic, and tracking who was present for which session are pain points to contend with.

Electronic safety meeting solutions make lab safety updates easier by simplifying the process of scheduling meetings, inviting attendees, assigning roles, distributing topics and agendas, automating pre- and post-meeting notifications, and creating records of conversations with the ability to carry over action items and unresolved topics to the next meeting. Even better, meeting documentation can be recorded and archived in one centralized system for compliance purposes.

Today’s technology can be a game-changer. For those tired of tracking down employees who are past due on training or are worried about what will happen if an inspector visits, now is a good time to start evaluating EHS software solutions.