How OSHA Transformed its Training Protocols and Employee Performance
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal government agency charged with ensuring the safety of America’s workers. OSHA opened its doors in 1970 as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The stated mission of OSHA is “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”
That’s an expansive mission that covers the over 130 million workers in the United States. OSHA leadership must set policies and standards, then communicate these to every company and government entity in the United States. The compliance teams at OSHA must ensure that companies and agencies are following the guidance, laws, and regulations. OSHA experts also work closely with several state agencies. When there’s some type of workforce injury event, OSHA officials will often investigate.
Training is crucial to the agency’s work and its mission. When OSHA was first established, training took place using manuals, slides, and printed documents. They subsequently moved to on-site training where agency employees would travel to a training center and take the relevant courses.
However, in 2019, OSHA leadership elected to move to a hybrid training methodology using a mix of on-site and online training. The OSHA department in charge of training is the Office of Training and Education. This department trains compliance officers and policy experts, plus employees from other federal and state agencies. The department’s outreach training program reaches over one million people a year who are not part of the federal government but must complete OSHA training. Many of these people are safety officers and safety specialists at private companies.
Also under the OSHA umbrella, the Division of Training and Education Development creates all the training materials for OSHA and associated agencies.
A Powerful Agency Needs a Powerful Training Platform
OSHA is one of the most powerful domestic agencies in the United States. Its compliance officers can shut down a company if that company is not complying with OSHA regulations. Its policymakers have a massive impact on how companies run their operations.
The sheer size and scope of OSHA leads to complexity. But with this complexity comes the need for clarity, and this clarity comes from OSHA training, which must ensure employees and stakeholders fully understand policy, laws, and guidelines. OSHA must organize training for well over one million people and it must ensure that everyone who needs to take training actually completes and passes the training. There’s also a security element at play, because OSHA works closely with several federal agencies that handle classified information.
The training team at OSHA faces numerous challenges, such as:
- The sheer size and scope of the agency
- Making sure that everyone completes the required training
- Updating and designing training materials to reflect changes in policy
- Completing training online consistently and successfully
- Training compliance officers and other stakeholders
- Maintaining security standards with other federal agencies
OSHA training comprises webinars, in-person training, and online archives.
To overcome these challenges and ensure a consistently high level of training, OSHA decided to partner with Anthology and adopt Blackboard® Learn as their learning management system (LMS). This partnership helped them overcome the challenges the department faced and significantly simplified and streamlined the administration of the training.
A Platform that Helps to Ensure the Safety of America’s Workers
Adopting Blackboard Learn has allowed OSHA to:
- Run webinars and offer other online learning delivery methods
- House all the archived materials
- Meet federal security standards
- Provide a single-source solution instead of having to integrate several different training and communication platforms
- Make training fully inclusive
- Provide totally paperless record-keeping that saves the department thousands of hours of labor time
To launch their new LMS and training programs, OSHA training specialists started with pilot programs to test the platform. They completed these tests with help from Anthology training and learning specialists.
As a federal agency, OSHA must be fully compliant with stringent federal and state government guidelines. The Anthology team designed its learning and training solutions around these requirements. The team has also incorporated some cutting-edge training methodologies, including training based on gaming platforms.
Once OSHA training specialists started working with Blackboard Learn, they discovered an important benefit: the versatility of the platform.
The partnership with Anthology is helping OSHA fulfill its crucial mission of helping to secure the safety of America’s workers. It is also giving OSHA the ability to ensure funds are spent efficiently and effectively, while making it easier for employees and contractors to obtain their training.
If your agency is ready to modernize and elevate their training programs, discover the Blackboard Learn difference.
Westlund joined Anthology in 2021, bringing nearly 11 years of government and marketing experience, including over 7 years at the U.S. Institute of Peace and 3.5 years at a MarTech company. In her role at Anthology, she works to create awareness and demand for our EdTech solutions in federal, state, and local governments, and within corporate entities. Westlund graduated from Washington State University with an M.A. in strategic communication and previously earned an M.A. from American University in international peace and conflict resolution, with a focus on conflict in the Southern Balkans.