How Educating Yourself On Environmental Issues Can Save You Time And Frustration
Property managers and owners face countless questions, many far more complicated than how to handle asbestos or mold. Among those are growing health and safety risks and potential regulatory requirements. Did you know that rooftop work or activity might be subject to OSHA’s Fall Protection Standards? Did you know the communication towers and antennas on your roof can pose hazards from radio frequency, electromagnetic and microwave energies? Knowing this info will not only help you meet training objectives, but it can reduce liability and operating costs while improving on-site health and safety.
That’s why, for over 25 years, Bisnow partner EBI Consulting has used its industry expertise to create flexible, comprehensive training courses. We sat down with program manager Jordan Hall to get a full explanation of the program and how it can benefit you and your property.
The Classroom of Many Forms
EBI’s courses take two forms. You can either attend regularly scheduled courses at EBI’s HQ in Burlington, MA (pictured), or you can create a customized course. With the latter, not only can you tailor any course to fit your needs, but the option to schedule courses when and where you want allows you to reduce employee and company downtime, as well as training and travel costs, especially since EBI will travel nationwide to provide training and will even host courses on weekends and night shifts if necessary.
You’ll learn from EBI’s instructors, who average more than 15 years of hands-on experience and can speak on a variety of topics in a lively, interactive environment. Jordan (pictured) says while optimal class size often depends on the specific course, they prefer to maintain a level that can allow for comfort with the material and opportunities to actively contribute to the class.
“We know many customers are tired or wary of cookie cutter programs that often don’t relate to their specific business," Jordan tells Bisnow. “One size doesn't fit all, so not only do we work with clients to select or emphasize topics directly relevant to them, but we also encourage students to apply lessons directly to their actual work environments by incorporating hands-on exercises such as drills and facility walkthroughs.”
The Biggest Draws
Jordan says while there’s always demand for HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) training, he’s seen a growth in OSHA’s Outreach Programs in particular, including the 10 Hour Construction and General Industry Certification courses.
“While some states and/or municipalities now require Outreach training as a condition of employment, we see clients undergo this training as a way to stay ahead of potential regulatory changes,” Jordan says.
Also popular is wastewater operator training, as many companies are finding current wastewater workers are approaching the average retirement age (56) and are scrambling to train new operators, especially with the boost in biotech and life science companies in the region. As such, EBI’s Massachusetts Industrial Wastewater Operator Exam Prep Course has become one of its most demanded.
With additional licensed operators comes additional demand for continuing education credits. Jordan says all wastewater operators must undergo a minimum of 20 Training Contact Hours every two years in order to maintain their license, so EBI introduced Correspondence Courses to provide a convenient way to earn TCHs. In addition to dedicated wastewater courses, Jordan adds, the majority of EBI’s Health and Safety topics also qualify for TCH credits, so a well-designed course can often fulfill multiple regulatory or compliance requirements, saving clients time and money.
Jordan and EBI continue to evolve and advance the program, but are heavily weighing the adoption of technology, which, Jordan says, is significantly impacting how they train. For example, the Internet and apps provides unlimited access to info and tools that can help identify hazardous materials or provide essential safety and regulatory information. Butt Jordan believes tech can also be a danger to the learning process.
“Technology has made it easier for less reliable sources to flood the Internet with old, misleading or inaccurate information.”
Online training programs—while seemingly quick, convenient and inexpensive—can also be low quality, misinformed and harmful. Not only can they fail to explain topics or allow students to ask questions, but they allow students to skip material.
"We don’t recommend online computer-based courses. In fact, we’re finding that a growing number of our clients who tried these have recognized its shortcomings and are returning to live format training," he says.
The classroom environment allows for students to bring their own perspectives, unusual experiences and specific knowledge, all of which create a give-and-take that only occurs in a live, instructor-led course.
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