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.

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