4  FM quick reads on Training

1. With Training, Safety is Always First


No matter the task that front-line technicians perform, safety remains the top priority for maintenance and engineering managers. From electrical-system testing and chiller inspections to roof repairs and hazardous materials management, technicians perform a range of duties that present substantial safety risks.

Unfortunately, managers find it challenging to devote enough time and resources to developing a safety-training program. With operating budgets stretched to the limits and workdays packed with meetings, crises and everything in between, managers' time is at a premium.

The issue becomes more pressing each day as facility operations and technology become more complex and as the laws to protect workers become more far-reaching. The challenge for managers seeking to beef up safety training for their technicians is to identify department safety training needs, locate effective resources, and make sure training pays tangible dividends for both the department and the organization.

Ignoring job site hazards and safe work practices can lead to workplace accidents and higher costs. Effective employee training is a crucial part of an overall facility safety and health program that can reduce these accidents and injuries.

Effective use of training helps communicate safe work practices that employees will follow to avoid job site hazards. Safety training can cover many topics, including regulatory requirements, using personal protective equipment, proper equipment use, safe work practices, and emergency response procedures.

Effective safety training is not an expense to an organization but an investment with a proven return. In fact, managers can expect a return of about $3-6 for every $1 invested in a safety program, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This payback results from lower insurance and workers compensation premiums, lower health care costs, and increased productivity.

Maintenance managers, front-line technicians and upper management also must understand that safety training is good business that benefits an organization's bottom-line. Trying to save a few dollars by ignoring safety training will have a much larger overall cost to an organization in the long run.


2.  Managers should protect training funds

Managers have a big enough challenge finding sufficient funds to cover a department's needs when economic times are good. But when times get tough, the challenge can seem overwhelming. The natural tendency is to protect traditional core needs — labor to do the work, and the essential tools to support the work. Anything beyond that seems like fair game for managers forced to make tough budget choices.

But just for a minute, consider the importance of technician training in keeping up with maintenance needs. Technicians with outdated skills will be hard-pressed to properly carry out effective maintenance and engineering duties. Only those familiar with new-generation technologies have any chance of being able to efficiently test, inspect, maintain, and operate them.

Managers have several sources of free training. Most manufacturers include training with the purchase of a new product or system. Another type of free training — cross-training — might be the best friend a manager has. It lifts the department's overall skill level and offers a hedge against staffing cuts. Whatever the source or cost, the goal is training that results in more efficient, cost-effective maintenance.

And for managers who worry about providing training for technicians, only to see them take another job (“What if we train them and they leave?"), the only real response is, "What if you don't train them and they stay?"

3.  Managers Should Protect Training Funds

As the budgets of maintenance and engineering departments continue to shrink, managers might have no higher priority than protecting funds for technician training.

Managers have a big enough challenge finding sufficient funds to cover a department's needs when economic times are good. But when times get tough, the challenge can seem overwhelming. The natural tendency is to protect traditional core needs — labor to do the work, and the essential tools to support the work. Anything beyond that seems like fair game for managers forced to make tough budget choices.

But just for a minute, consider the importance of technician training in keeping up with maintenance needs. Technicians with outdated skills will be hard-pressed to properly carry out effective maintenance and engineering duties. Only those familiar with new-generation technologies have any chance of being able to efficiently test, inspect, maintain, and operate them.

Managers have several sources of free training. Most manufacturers include training with the purchase of a new product or system. Another type of free training — cross-training — might be the best friend a manager has. It lifts the department's overall skill level and offers a hedge against staffing cuts. Whatever the source or cost, the goal is training that results in more efficient, cost-effective maintenance.

4.  Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boiler and Water Heating Training Program

Just as there is a range of training formats available for boilers and water heaters, managers have options when it comes to program providers. Determining the most suitable provider for the facility depends on the manager's goals. For example, a number of different providers, such as those who conduct seminars or have online programs, can handle refresher training on the basics of boiler and water heater operations.

More specific training, such as would be required to learn the details of operating and maintaining an advanced boiler-control system, is often best handled by training representatives from the manufacturer.

Managers can start the selection process by getting a list of references from the prospective vendor or provider and talking with people who actually went through the training to better understand their experiences.

For each program being evaluated, managers must consider a number of factors. If the program is held at a remote location, what are the travel costs? Can people attend different sessions, or will all operators and maintenance personnel have to attend the same sessions? How often does the provider offer the program?

If the program is to be held in the facility, what does it cost to bring in the trainers? Does the facility have the necessary space and equipment? Can managers honestly expect operators and maintenance personnel to attend the sessions without interruption or being called away for an emergency?


RELATED CONTENT:


Training , Safety , Maintenance & Operations

Daikin

General Pipe Cleaners. The toughest tools down the line.

PREVENT Air Intake Filter. Watch The Animated Cartoon! Click here.



QUICK Sign-up - Membership Includes:

New Content and Magazine Article Updates
Educational Webcast Alerts
Building Products/Technology Notices
Complete Library of Reports, Webcasts, Salary and Exclusive Member Content



click here for more member info.