Page 28 - OHS, June 2022
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Immersive Training Prepares Workers When Moments Matter
Safety professionals face more challenges than ever in keeping training on target during
these challenging times.
or most employers, adequate safety training isn’t just desirable, it is also required by law. For example, OSHA requires trained first aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no infirmary, clinic or hospital in nearby
proximity to the workplace.1 Since proximity is interpreted by OSHA as help that can arrive within three to four minutes of the emergency, most workplaces will need trained first aid responders.2 In addition, OSHA requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in certain industries, such as electrical power, due to chances of sudden cardiac arrest from asphyxiation, electrocution or exertion.3
Workplace disruptions of the past two years have forced educators across-the-board to reimagine the way they teach and learn, and this is no different for CPR and AED training. Recent research underscores that education providers must build the infrastructure to support new learning methods, fully integrating technology into classrooms by becoming familiar with a range of online learning approaches and incorporate rigorous quality control.4 These newer modalities such as online or virtual learning, hybrid learning environments and blended learning, combine in-person learning with an online component.
“Public health disasters such as Covid-19 can encourage innovation and create out-of-the box thinking in educational settings,” provided these components are in place, Minnesota State University Moorhead researchers concluded.
Adapting to this new training “normal” is especially pressing for employers since some industries will always require employees to be in-person. If there is a forklift accident in a food distribution warehouse, for example, managers need to know that a fully trained person is nearby and ready with the necessary lifesaving skills. They also need to know that, despite the pandemic disruptions of the last two years, the employee’s emergency skills are as sharp as they can be.
Unfortunately, the numbers show that workplace emergencies are an enduring reality. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers reported 2.7 million injury and illness cases in 2020.5 Over the same period, employers reported 4,764 fatal injuries on the job.6
Slip, trip and fall accidents are some of the most prevalent work injuries. According to the CDC, 27 percent of the 888,220 nonfatal work injuries in 2019 resulting in days away from work were related to slips, trips and falls.7 Also, 229,410 injuries the same year due to contact with objects and equipment were so severe that they resulted in time away from work.
In addition to CPR and AED training, some employers are required by law to have first aid responders on staff who are adequately trained by a nationally accepted and medically sound first aid program.8 OSHA also requires that the specific content of the first aid programs be consistent with the work environment in question and must be kept up to date with current first aid techniques and knowledge.
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All told, employers are facing more challenges than ever in keeping training on target during these challenging times. Fortunately, some organizations are leading the way.
Reimagining Ways to Learn and Teach
Owen Long, the president and CEO of Sertified, a safety training organization in Chester, Md., is one safety trainer who was forced to abruptly modify the ways he and his instructors trained.
“Instructors such as myself had to take a step back and rethink how we taught things due to new obstacles in how we delivered courses,” he recalled.
Organizations such as the American Red Cross, which trains more than 4.6 million people in lifesaving programs every year, also pivoted to meet the needs of employers. The goal was to ensure that ever-changing strategies to maintain healthy business operations didn’t diminish lifesaving skills and that companies met or exceeded OSHA obligations. This is especially pressing for the many industries where telecommuting is not an option, such as construction and manufacturing.
When the pandemic hit, several new, innovative educational models that provide First Aid/CPR/AED training to meet the needs of workplaces that may—or may not—have the capacity for in-person training were employed.
For OSHA-regulated industries requiring in-person First Aid/ CPR/AED skills training, the organizations like the Red Cross now offer “active learning,” a proven educational methodology that heightens learner attention and engagement, reinforces essential lifesaving actions and improves learner confidence during a real- life situation. In this method, the emphasis is on peer-to-peer learning where learners take turns simulating the role of an active lifesaver, a coach and an observer. These in-person skills sessions
Photo courtesy of American Red Cross

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