Friday, October 3, 2014

What is FirstNet? Find Out More about this New Training

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) is offering FirstNet Safety Training, a web-based training endorsed by the National Safety Council, to all LMCIT members for the first time. This online training tool has been offered to members of LMCIT's Regional Safety Groups for the past several years, so we talked to two long-time FirstNet users to see why the training is such a valuable tool.
Sheila Dubs of the City of Marshall became the coordinator of the City’s safety program in 2009. When Sheila became responsible for Marshall’s safety program she needed a resource that could provide her with base-level knowledge on organizational best practices, could improve Marshall’s safety program, ensure overall OSHA compliance, and ensure that all employees received the training they needed.
Crystal Nicolai is the safety compliance coordinator with the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD).  WLSSD has been using FirstNet for nine years, and as a long-time user, Crystal says her organization recognizes that FirstNet provides them with a means to effectively deliver safety training to employees regardless of their location, shifts, or schedules.
How do you use FirstNet?
When asked about the reasons Marshall uses FirstNet, Sheila said “FirstNet has served as a valuable resource in building a robust safety program. It is available 24/7 for adult learners, and is a great tool for our employees who work part-time, in paid-on-call positions and for employees who work shift schedules.” Marshall also uses FirstNet training as a refresher for employees.
Crystal also cited the benefits of FirstNet’s flexibility as a reason WLSSD uses FirstNet. In addition, she said that the training program helps her organization meet their safety goals. “FirstNet has made it possible for WLSSD to consistently reach the goal of 100% attendance at all monthly meetings, and any missed trainings made up within 30 days. FirstNet covers the general OSHA required and recommended safety training, and it can be relied on as an option for employees to make up training online at a time that works with all schedules.”
What benefits does FirstNet offer?
The flexibility of the online training program has been particularly attractive to employees at the City of Marshall.  Sheila said “Several employees prefer the FirstNet courses to the on-site training provided and choose to meet all their individual safety course requirements through this tool. We also have many paid-on-call employees who don’t work regular schedules or regular hours; the online training option ensures that we continue to meet compliance requirements and their individual training needs.”
Particularly appealing to WLSSD are trainings that help them when encountering some unique hazards some facilities contain. “WLSSD has found that the confined space, lockout/tagout, electrical, and defensive driving courses provide the most benefit because what is learned during the training can be directly applied to the work environment,” Crystal said. She went on to say that employees have completed almost all of the 30 courses offered.
Why continue to use FirstNet?
Over all, Sheila feels FirstNet is beneficial to the City of Marshall because “it is a tool by which the city can meet OSHA compliance requirements.  The variety of courses offered assist the city in continuing to sustain a strong safety program, and with new courses being added, it can further enhance the safety program and allow Marshall to offer additional topics to employees.” And, Crystal notes, the ease of use for employees from all levels of computer proficiency and experience, FirstNet is an accessible program for everyone.
To find out more about the FirstNet Safety Training program—including information on upcoming webinars for new and prospective FirstNet program administrators—visit the FirstNet page on the League’s website.

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