OSHA just threw a big curveball to companies that use online worker safety training.
In a recently released standard interpretation letter, a top OSHA official said that the use of online training isn’t enough to comply with the agency’s regulations unless the education incorporates interactive and hands-on components.
The letter, signed by Patrick Kapust, acting director of enforcement programs, was issued in response to an inquiry about whether online training meets the agency’s requirements.
Kapust said that under OSHA regulations, training must result in mastery of the material, and that online training without interactive and hands-on components doesn’t typically meet that goal.
Kapust further stated that effective training must allow trainees to ask questions and receive responses from qualified trainers. Training with no interaction or delayed interaction doesn’t allow trainees to demonstrate that they understand the material, and it wouldn’t comply with OSHA’s regulatory requirements.
The letter suggested that employers could give trainees an opportunity for immediate interaction by incorporating a telephone hotline into the training.
What it means to you:
Take a look at your training methods and materials in order to ensure that they allow workers who don’t understand the material to ask questions right away.
Otherwise, you’re taking a risk that OSHA could decide your training program doesn’t comply with its regulations, and then slap you with a fine for failing to ensure employees were trained.
(From the Dec. 2, 2019 issue of OSHA Compliance News)