Building a Better Health and Safety Training Program

As liquid waste experts, you know the high health risks you face every day. That’s why it’s crucial to have a concrete health and safety training program in place: a program that supports all of your team — no matter how long they’ve been working with you or how much experience they have.

A fit-for-purpose health and safety training program ensures that:

• You protect your staff and your customers from health risks;
• Your team feels empowered to tackle the most challenging jobs because they are both knowledgeable and prepared;
• Your team understands the risks to themselves and the business should liquid waste be handled inappropriately;
• You build a reputation as your area’s go-to source for liquid waste services;
• Protects your business from legal threat.

Understand Your Legal Obligations

OSHA and the EPA

Under the OSHA, as an employer, you have several responsibilities. Make sure you are familiar with these and have built processes and systems to monitor your compliance.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also publishes guidance on dealing with wastewater and sewage systems and maintains a list of Health and Environmental Agencies of U.S. states and territories.
Make sure you know your state’s requirements to operate legally and effectively as a business. You may need to obtain the relevant permits to conduct business.

Building a Better Health and Safety Training Program

When working with liquid waste, you need to develop an ethos of health and safety throughout your company, where it forms an integral part of your day-to-day processes. To do this, you’ll need to take stock of several things:

• What training do you currently offer?
• What training has your staff had (both with you and from other sources)?
• What skills, knowledge and experience does your team currently hold?
• What do your team need to know to do their jobs safely?
• Do you have risk assessments available for your business?
• Review records of past accidents; these can help you decide what training is required.

What Does a Good Health and Safety Program Look Like?

What does an effective health and safety program look like for your business? It should meet the needs of your staff, satisfy your legal obligations and make sense financially for your business.

A basic health and safety program could look like the following:

• Induction for new staff: ensure it introduces the new starter to the most crucial legal requirements and everything they need to do their job safely from day one.
• Take stock of your equipment and what is required to operate safely and effectively. Do you have what you need for your staff to do their jobs safely?
• Ensure your risk assessments are up to date and accurately reflect your processes.
• Build refresher training for existing staff based on your knowledge assessment. What do existing staff need? What are the most common errors you see appearing in your accident logs? Build training around these issues.
• While there is a cost for the business, it is well worth considering training provided by a third party. Both OSHA and the EPA have several resources and training available.
• Include regular reviews of your processes and people’s knowledge. Reviews will help you ensure your training program always meets the needs of your business.
• Document everything! It is a legal requirement and will provide you with crucial data to keep refining and improving your training offers.
How Should You Re-engagement Deliver Your Health and Safety Training?
What your training looks like is dependent on what fits your business best. There are several ways to train your staff, including:
• Face-to-face events
• Online: both live events and systems that allow your staff to access learning materials at a time that is convenient to them
• Video
• Documentation
• On-the-job training: ensure you have a way of logging all activity for your records and legal compliance.

It’s essential to build a flexible training system that fits in with your typical working day. Is most of your business conducted off-site? Using a system that can be accessed through a mobile phone and allows the training to be split into small parts makes much more sense than demanding staff attend regular face-to-face training.

It also makes sense to offer a variety of ways to access your training; people have preferences in how they learn. Making sure your training is flexible ensures a higher level of compliance from your staff.

Want to learn more about how to upgrade your health and safety training for your septic, sewer or restroom business? Subscribe to American Liquid Waste Magazine today — the #1 source for septic, sewer and portable restroom professionals!


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