Lisa Bentley is one of TPC’s OSHA safety instructors. She brings over 25 years of experience as a safety trainer to our instructor team, with a background including a federal agency and numerous private employers, and she has spent over 20 of those years as an official OSHA trainer. She teaches all four of our instructor-led OSHA safety training courses: OSHA 10- and 30-Hour for both General Industry and Construction.
We sat down with Lisa to get her take on some important safety questions that we hear from companies like yours.
Who needs safety training?
Everybody! From line workers to craft people, every single person on a job needs safety training. Whether it’s your first day on the site or you’re the plant manager, you need safety training. Unfortunately, in a lot of facilities, temporary workers fall through the cracks and don’t receive it, even though it’s training that OSHA requires.
What topics tend to be the most misunderstood by learners, and why is it critical to understand those topics?
Fall protection, electrical – especially navigating accepted practices, confined spaces. Changes to fall protection, initiated by ANSI, have impacted equipment. Accepted practices – using techniques that have worked for a period of time at your facility, but that aren’t necessarily the best or safest ways to complete a repair or maintenance – can cause safety challenges. One example is daisy-chaining extension cords, which is not only unsafe but also increases resistance and increases the risk to equipment. There were also recently changes to regulations around confined spaces. Because of the prevalence of accepted practice, it is incredibly important to offer safety training to all staff members on a regular basis.
What questions do you get asked the most by learners?
Many of the most frequent questions I get asked are about modifying safety best practices to make them easier – such as using a harness with the D ring in the front rather than the back. Since changes like these can negatively impact safety, they are never recommended.
What are some great first steps that a company can take when they are looking to improve facility safety?
Do a hazard assessment of facility. Use a checklist and identify any hazards or other unsafe conditions that exist in the facility. Look at the building itself, machinery, and conditions already present. Then go look at where the employees are working, their behavior, and put it all together. Take a note of unsafe and safe behaviors and start correcting from there. Reduce or eliminate the hazards.
What are the most important strategies for maintaining a safe working environment?
Daily walkthroughs, safety talks, identifying any unsafe conditions and behaviors, and having a third party review your facility and look for safety hazards that have gone unnoticed. I have gone into companies repeatedly for safety training and audits, and sometimes they ask for a different consultant, simply for a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes you need someone new or different to look at it.
What are the advantages of taking an OSHA safety training course via live instruction?
With an instructor leading these courses, attendees can ask questions and feel comfortable knowing that they have a dedicated instructor to help break down the topics in a way that makes sense to them. It improves engagement. Throughout the process, we build rapport. Teaching in this manner allows me to interact with learners, creating a flow that keeps your team engaged.
When you are given the opportunity to walk a facility prior to training the team there, what is the most frequent safety hazard you see?
It really depends on facility, but one of the worst is where it is either congested, cluttered, or has housekeeping issues, since these lead to lots of slips, trips, and falls. That is the biggest challenge for those attending OSHA 10- or 30-Hour for General Industry and why we have to focus on it.
In your experience, what are some of the top reasons why companies decide to hire an OSHA safety trainer?
Usually, the reason someone seeks out safety training is because of an insurance company requirement or because they had an OSHA fine, or to beef up or create a new safety program. Sometimes it is due to an accident or injury.
Ready to improve your team's safety skills?
OSHA safety training courses are critical to the success of any safety program and empower your team to make an impact on safety every day. Learn more about OSHA safety training from TPC's instructors.