The Problem – Siloed, Expensive Systems That Only Serve One Purpose
In my 30 years in the construction industry as a Boilermaker, Commercial Diver, Carpenter, Health and Safety Consultant and Safety Training Director, I have seen a lot of changes; from new processes and procedures to improved technology continuing to revolutionize the way that we communicate and provide our services to the client. Unfortunately, we in the construction industry are sometimes reluctant to change and instead, stick with what has worked in the past.
Twenty years ago, during my time with the Construction Safety Association of Ontario, industry identified the need for a “Smart Card” for credentials so that Contractors, Unions, Safe Work Associations, Regulators and workers would all be in one centralized data base allowing access to training records, so ensuring we have workers that are trained and competent to provide the industry with consistent services. We have been struggling for decades with this issue and have seen many new technologies developed. The problem is now we have multiple systems that are costly and independent of each other. Unions have their programs and employers have bought into Health and Safety Management systems that have training management modules for their internal staff, but there is still no integration between the two or the ability to track sub-contractors and transient workers.
Everyone is looking internally for the perfect system instead of collaborating and supporting one national system that provides accurate record keeping that are transferable and cost effective.
Developing more isolated systems for individual organizations is not solving the problem, but rather adding to it. It creates more administrative work, initial investment, and the lack of transparency remains with this approach. Transparency of safety training records that follow workers across the country can only happen if we agree and adopt one solution.
A Step Forward – Standardizing Construction Orientation
In effort to standardize training itself, one initiative developed by the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) is The Safety Pass. It is an online orientation program that identifies 13 Health & Safety topics in the construction industry. Induction orientations consisting of a video of generic hazards are currently being repeated by general contractors thereby delivering repetitive, non-engaging, and costly (both time and money) sessions. The OGCA has taken the lead and produced this single safety orientation course that can be delivered consistently across companies, and it is hosted and tracked on SkillsPass, a national safety network. The Safety Pass is a recognized industry standard introducing new workers to key concepts that will help them work safely in the Ontario ICI industry. A standardized approach to injury and incident prevention will benefit all workers and companies in our industry. Wide adoption of the Safety Pass will reduce duplicate training, increase seamless movement of workers between work sites, and reduce unnecessary costs.
The Solution – One System to Track It All, Serving Everyone Who Cares About Safety
By partnering with a proven credential management system that maintains records for the construction industry that is transferable, cost effective and has the capacity to grow with our program, SkillsPass has provided an avenue to take tracking safety training to the next level. The impact will be much greater if we track all training on one system. Imagine a world where there are no more wallet cards.
SkillsPass (parent company is Bluedrop Learning Networks based in St. John’s, NL) software tracks all 10 mandatory training standards in Newfoundland & Labrador meaning that training providers, employers, unions, contractors, and workers all use the system to track and view their certificates digitally, and in real-time. And not to worry, you can print your wallet card if need be. The Ontario Ministry of Labour is in the midst of launching Bluedrop’s software to track Working at Heights and Joint Health & Safety Committee certifications across the province of Ontario and conversations are currently happening in other Provinces to join the network.
The adoption of regulators is indicative that this system (SkillsPass) is the way forward. Training providers across the country are now asking to be part of the SkillsPass network to track all the training they teach, not just regulated courses. Regulation speaks to a certain level of rigor around the curriculum itself though regulating all safety training will take years of collaborative work. Providing the real-time transparency to all safety training records can be done now with SkillsPass, allowing employers to have a direct line of sight to all safety records required on their work sites without worrying about tracking hundreds of tiny pieces of paper, with relative confidence they have it all, it’s all up to date, and legitimate.
So what now?
Moving forward I am challenging anyone who influences safety to support the campaign to end the use of wallet cards (#nomorewalletscards) and commit to supporting one credential management system that will provide employers, workers and regulators with the tools needed to manage and track Health & Safety documentation and certificates. SkillsPass has this capacity and has proven results.
To the General Contractors and Employer, there are only benefits:
- When choosing a training provider, require that they are in the SkillsPass network so all your records of training are maintained on one portal and you have real-time access when your staff completes training.
- When delivering in-house training, if you do not have an LMS, consider logging that training directly in SkillsPass. This will allow you to track their training in the network as well as see all contractor’s training using SkillsPass if they are working on your jobsite.
- If you deliver in-house training and you have a robust LMS to track it, look at joining the SkillsPass network via API (data sharing technology), giving you and your employees access to the network.
To join the campaign, click here #NoMoreWalletCards, to submit your company logo. It doesn’t cost a thing to do the right thing. Let’s ensure wallet cards are a thing of the past and fix this part of the safety training puzzle once and for all. Employers need to take the initiative and drive this change. All it takes is asking your Training Provider that your training certificates be delivered to you digitally in a network that benefits everyone.
Contact the SkillsPass team today to learn more and join the network.
Dan Fleming CRSP, CHSC