Chemical Plant Training for Security

Safety, security, and compliance are three of the biggest issues in chemical manufacturing. Each carries its own challenges, but each challenge also creates an opportunity. Like anything else, you learn from it and grow stronger, or you let it defeat you entirely. In a chemical plant, the latter has the potential to create devastating consequences. This three part series will look at the role of training in creating better opportunities from your biggest challenges.

Security

Chemical plants are one of the nation’s largest potential terrorism targets. They use and store chemicals that have the potential to injure or kill millions of people. Per plant. Terrorists could meet their mass casualty goals from either a direct attack, or by stealing chemicals like ammonia to be used elsewhere. Fortunately, most chemical plants are aware of this risk and have taken measures to establish proper workplace security training. Even the federal government has stepped in to partially regulate certain plants that use or store certain chemicals in large quantities. But, what else can be done?

Many of the more obvious safeguards have already been put into place. Companies have invested in more security guards, higher fences, and stronger locks and gates, for example. Where they can, or, in some cases, in accordance with government regulations, plants have also begun using alternative chemicals that are safer; those that have less potential for widespread destruction, or those that carry significantly less health risks. Clorox, for example, announced in 2009 that it will convert its seven U.S. plants using deadly chlorine gas to safer chemical processes in manufacturing household cleaning products. That move alone eliminated the potentially disastrous chlorine gas health risk to some 13 million people who live around the seven plants. Clorox CEO Donald Knauss said the conversion will, “strengthen our operations and add another layer of security.”

None of these security measures mean anything, however, if chemical plant employees aren’t paying attention, or if they don’t know what they’re looking for. When gates are left open, guards are not where they should be, and people off the street are able to gain full access to storage tanks before anyone even knows they’re on the property, that’s a big problem.

This is where security guard training can really pay off. And not just for your employees who are traditionally involved in security. All facility employees need awareness training. Everyone should know who is supposed to be on site, what the reporting process is for reporting suspicious activity, and what the potential fallout would be should a terrorist target their plant. Employees also need to know that they will not be chastised for reporting suspicious activity that turns out to be nothing at all.  A lot of people don’t make reports for fear of being wrong. What if you accused someone of potential terrorist activity, and that person turned out to be a new employee? Well, the answer is…what if you didn’t report that person, and he blew up your tank? Failure to report also comes from
making assumptions, like “that person is already at a storage tank. He must have security clearance.” Awareness training is just what its name implies: learning to be aware of your surroundings. This is just as important as chemical plant training.

Going beyond awareness training, your basic plant operations training should include legislation such as the Chemical-terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI) law. This law protects any information that could potentially expose specific chemical plant vulnerabilities from being publicly disclosed in any way. It should be obvious how valuable such information can be to a terrorist. Employees need to know what CVI is, how to evaluate another party’s need to know as it pertains to CVI, how to handle various disclosures, etc. This is a lot of information, and it changes periodically. Ensuring your employees know the laws that protect against terrorism is another important way that security guard training can help you turn one of your biggest challenges into an opportunity to stay ahead of the game.

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CiNet & Envisage Technologies Announce Federal Award to Provide Online Law Enforcement Training Nationwide

Free online training aims to keep officers on the street, reduce liability and increase safety

 

CARROLLTON, Texas – October 18, 2011 — Critical Information Network (CiNet), LLC and Envisage Technologies announced today that they were awarded a contract to provide tuition-free online training for state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), a component of the Department of Homeland Security.

“In today’s budget-constrained environment, many small law enforcement agencies lack the resources, travel budgets or manpower to send their officers to classroom-based training to keep up their skills.   Police departments across the nation have been struggling to maintain essential services.  As budgets are being cut, vital training is frequently eliminated first,” said Ari Vidali, Envisage chief executive officer.  “The support provided by organizations such as the FLETC’s Rural Policing Institute and the Office of State and Local training are providing police officers access to high-quality training, regardless of the size of their department.”

Envisage will act as the prime contractor and deliver the free service in a secure, cloud environment via its Acadis Readiness Suite Learning Management System (LMS). The Acadis LMS enables officers to take courses and agencies to track results in one seamless platform.

The Law Enforcement Training Network (LETN), an Envisage partner and division of CiNet, will provide the extensive online learning library available on the system.  The LETN catalog gives enrolled officers access to 200 high-quality learning modules addressing important subjects such as Officer Survival, Use of Force, Narcotics, Gangs and Cybercrime.  Many of the courses are certified by state agencies to provide officers with in-service or continuing education credits.

“Working in concert with the Envisage team, CiNet’s Law Enforcement Training Network is extraordinarily proud to participate with the FLETC’s Rural Policing Institute to provide our expansive and time-tested library of critically needed training to those that put their lives on the line everyday of their brave careers”, said Steve Albright, CEO of CiNet. “We are honored to bring the Envisage and CiNet resources together in a blended solution to fulfill the requirements of FLETC’s training contributions to state and local law enforcement with the predominate community qualified as rural departments.”

The program is administered through FLETC’s Rural Policing Institute (RPI) and Office of State and Local Training (OSL). Their missions are to provide high-quality and easily accessible training to state, local, county, tribal and campus law enforcement officers, as well as other emergency responders.

“Both Envisage and CiNet are honored to have been selected by FLETC for this very important initiative,” said Ari Vidali. “The partnership between our state and local police departments and the Federal government is of paramount importance to the ongoing support of professional policing.”

About the Rural Policing Institute

The mission of the Rural Policing Institute (RPI) is to develop and deliver specialized and advanced training, based upon sound research, and to conduct outreach efforts for law enforcement officers, and to other emergency responders located in rural areas, including Indian Country.  To accomplish these objectives, the RPI will evaluate the needs of the rural law enforcement community; develop and deliver expert training and conduct outreach to rural law enforcement.  The RPI will work with partners and stakeholders in the development of new training programs to
include a validation process to measure training outcomes.  http://www.fletc.gov/rpi

About the FLETC Office of State and Local Training

The Office of State and Local Training (OSL) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) provides tuition-free and low cost training to state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Programs are conducted at select sites throughout the country and are usually hosted by a local law enforcement agency in the area.  http://www.fletc.gov/osl

About ENVISAGE technologies

Founded in 2001, Envisage is an industry visionary in training management, resource optimization, complex scheduling and process automation for law enforcement, public safety and military organizations. Clients include military commands, federal law enforcement academies in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and state law enforcement and public safety organizations. http://www.envisagenow.com

About CiNet – LETN

Since 1989, CiNet’s Law Enforcement Training Network (LETN) has been a partner to our nation’s law enforcement service by delivering officer training solutions that help to retain personnel, reduce training costs, improve performance and ultimately save lives. LETN’s online courses serve every discipline within a law enforcement agency and depict real-life incidents analyzed by leading experts, increasing engagement, retention and results. Police officers have access to one of the largest libraries of law enforcement training videos in the industry, and the ability to develop customized curricula designed for specific job functions. http://www.letn.com/

About the Acadis Readiness Suite

The Acadis Readiness Suite is an enterprise software application that enables organizations to create training ecosystems. The system is in use by over 270,000 public safety professionals Nationwide.  Acadis automates the management of complex, high-risk training environments such as law enforcement, public safety, homeland security and the military. The modular system architecture allows training organizations to optimize the entire “hire-to-retire” lifecycle for personnel by fusing learning management, automated scheduling, registration, housing/barracks management, certification compliance tracking, automated testing, and document storage into a comprehensive end-to-end solution. The optional Acadis Portal Framework allows secure, decentralized access to online learning, employee training records, in-service training reporting, class registrations, and instructor availability management. http://www.envisagenow.com/acadis

 

Public Safety Training

 

Critical Information Network (CiNet) delivers performance-focused online training solutions that help emergency response personnel, public safety agencies and security firms save lives, protect critical infrastructure, improve workplace efficiency and manage critical risk threats. The comprehensive CiNet public safety portfolio has been serving the first responder community for almost twenty five years, with trusted brands that include the Law Enforcement Training Network (LETN), Professional Security Training Network (PSTN), Fire & Emergency Training Network (FETN) and Emergency Medical Update (PULSE).

Chemical Plant Training for Safety

Safety, security, and compliance are three of the biggest issues in chemical manufacturing. Each carries its own challenges, but each challenge also creates an opportunity. Like anything else, you learn from it and grow stronger, or you let it defeat you entirely. In a chemical plant, the latter has the potential to create devastating consequences. This three part series will look at the role of training in creating better opportunities from your biggest challenges.

Safety

Safety is not a new topic in the chemical manufacturing industry. These jobs carry risks, and all it takes is one, seemingly small mistake. That small mistake can quickly turn into a hazardous material handling event that affects millions of people. Risk assessments, control systems, safety processes, and specialized analytical teams are in place to ensure safe plant operations. The problem is, people run all of those processes. That leaves room for human error. How can you minimize that risk?

Statistically, approximately 51% of the chemical industry’s workforce is nearing retirement age. An aging workforce threatens a knowledge gap as companies recruit new talent. Knowledge gaps create even greater risk for human error. One of the keys to mitigating this risk is chemical plant training. And more training. And then, even more training. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to utilize the knowledge and experience of those who choose to retire. They can help train incoming employees. They can “show them the ropes,” so to speak, and share lessons learned from their own experiences. That can increase safety, significantly.

On-the-job training is also invaluable. As employees strengthen their skills and knowledge, and therefore gain confidence, safety hazards decrease.  Those benefits come only with experience, especially as technology advances. Technology almost always changes everything, making online skills training even more important.

Advances in technology mean more than an increased need for chemical plant training. These advances also make better training available. Online training solutions now have the capability to put your employees in real-life scenarios, using realistic control settings, instruments and equipment, process conditions, and test results. When your employees have the ability to operate, test, and control realistic instruments, equipment, and chemicals in an online environment, they can learn from their mistakes without jeopardizing the safety of your plant and the surrounding community.

Training is not the only solution to mitigating safety risks in the chemical manufacturing industry, nor is human error the only risk factor. You also need accountability, system failure mitigation processes, hazard evaluation and recognition, and applicable standards, among other things, to operate as safely as possible. The different chemical plant training solutions available just mean you have more choices in how to create the best opportunity to mitigate your safety challenge.

Stay tunned for part 2 of this article next week.

Training to Improve Electrical Workers Safety, Confidence and Effectiveness

According to OSHA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical accidents and the resulting fires cause millions of dollars in damages, countless injuries and life threatening workplace events every year. The tragedy is that many of these could have been avoided by simple maintenance repairs supported by a steady flow of electrical plant training. OSHA and NFPA’s National Electrical Code standards for electrical safety are constantly changing in response to new technology. In order to remain on the cutting edge of safety practices, it is essential to continually update electrical workers’ knowledge and skills. While employees who are new to the field will undoubtedly need to learn current safety standards, even veteran electricians have a need to stay current.

CiNet Industrial Training
Critical Information Networks training library is comprised of instructionally designed, blended-elearning training solutions, including video-based courses from internationally recognized and well-respected brands such as NUS, Williams Learning and Tel-A-Train. Comprehensive student workbooks enhance the training modules and are included with every course to maximize the total learning experience.

“Our Electrical Plant Training Series offers a practical solution with 43 Web-delivered electrical maintenance training courses, representing some of the most common preventive and corrective electrical maintenance practices performed on electrical equipment in an industrial environment. Topics covered range from AC and DC fundamental reviews to motor, generator and circuit breaker maintenance and many more”, stated President and CEO Steve Albright. “This is what we do best – purposeful education that goes beyond an enhancement for safety, it saves lives”.

CiNet offers flexible delivery options, featuring a customizable learning management system that keeps track of all trainee test scores, log times and site-information access and provides custom reporting options. Additionally, the award winning content can be integrated into the customer’s LMS. CiNet’s trusted AICC/SCORM compliant content and training platform ensures compatibility in any environment.

Industrial Aging Workforce: Retain or Recruit?

industrial aging workforceThe Baby Boomer generation began turning 65 this year. Over the next 19 years, roughly 10,000 will reach retirement age every single day. As they consider whether to retire, work part-time, or continue to work beyond retirement age, their employers are trying to decide the best way to retain the tacit knowledge they’ve amassed over the years. Do you invest in retention programs, designed to keep existing talent happy?

Do you heavily recruit from a seemingly dwindling talent pool to replace those who do leave? You might be surprised to know that roughly one-third of companies are doing absolutely nothing.  Perhaps the reason is that both sides have their caveats.

Retention

Studies show that Baby Boomers want and need competitive healthcare and benefits packages. That’s not difficult for a company to provide. However, in a panic, some companies go above and beyond that, offering other, extremely expensive incentives. These companies often do not consider the employees that retire, but are willing to continue to work on a part-time or contract basis. That’s a great way to keep the knowledge, but save a little money on salary and benefits. The problem is that a huge investment in retention programs has the potential to become unsustainable. It’s estimated that industrial companies can expect up to forty percent of their workforce to retire in the next ten years. Can you really afford to offer over forty percent of your workforce a retention package?

The good news is that the Baby Boomer generation is not just interested in money and healthcare benefits. While those things are important, they are also more likely to stay with a company that offers intangible benefits, such as schedule and work location flexibility, an environment that utilizes their experience and opinions, and the confidence to know they are welcome to work as long as they are able. Those things won’t cost you anything, and they make for happier employees. Many potential retirees may also be interested in receiving additional industrial training to learn new skills or technologies. The cost to offer these employees a variety of industrial training solutions is minimal, your employee feels more accomplished and has the opportunity to learn new things, and you benefit from the additional knowledge. It’s a step worth taking. Ultimately, the question becomes: how valuable is that tacit knowledge that is going to walk out the door, and can you afford to keep these people?

Recruitment

On the other hand, some companies choose to recruit new talent to replace those who retire. There is a perception that older workers are “set in their ways” and do not want to learn new processes, procedures, and equipment as technology changes and advances. They are often seen as more expensive to retain and less productive than younger workers. This has been found to be largely untrue. In fact, studies have shown that motivation increases with age, and experience offsets the natural cognitive decline that can come with age. However, there will be those that leave the company.

When it comes to recruiting new talent, it seems the pickings are slim. Or are they? One mistake many companies make is being too selective in education or experience requirements, which results in an apparent labor shortage.  The solution for this is really company-specific, as you need to look for talent who meets your own needs. Just remember that the younger generations may or may not have comparable education and experience levels. Consider setting up a mentoring program, in which retirees serve as mentors to incoming employees. This can ensure effective knowledge transfer and help with training. You also have eLearning and other online industrial training courses available to help new employees learn your equipment, processes, and procedures. These have been proven to increase productivity and reduce certain risks. They’re also a convenient and affordable way to bridge the knowledge gap. Also keep in mind that, as technology advances, some positions become automated or even eliminated. This can create one of two scenarios: the vacated position is now easier to learn, making training easier, or the position is no longer needed.

The solution

The reality is, there really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to retaining tacit knowledge. You can develop sustainable retention incentive packages. You can recruit competent new talent. The best solution probably lies somewhere in between. It can be done, but you need to start working on your solution now.

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