"I want something that will satisfy OSHA's requirements."

by Gordon Massingham, President, Emergency Film Group

 "I want something that will satisfy OSHA's requirements. I want to be able to show them the tape, have them take a test, and they will be certified."

It's the kind of request we get all too often here at Emergency Film Group. When we tell these callers that we don't have anything like that, and that neither does anyone else, some callers hang up in disgust. Maybe they go on calling other companies like ours. Maybe some disreputable salesperson from another company sells the caller a video-based program. Maybe the caller is pleased that he now has found "compliance-only training." Or, at least pleased until OSHA comes to call.


OSHA's standards for general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L, 1910.120, and 1910.156 which cover fire brigades and response to hazardous materials emergencies are very clear about training requirements.

The employer must provide training, "commensurate with those duties and functions that fire brigade members are expected to perform." Further, the employer must assure that each member of the fire brigade is able to perform "assigned duties and functions satisfactorily and in a safe manner so as not to endanger the fire brigade members or other employees." Finally, the employers must inform the fire brigade members of any special hazards that exist and develop "written procedures that describe the actions to be taken in situations involving the special hazards and shall include these in the training and education program."

So unless you have a training video that is custom designed and site specific, no video is going to train your plant emergency response team to OSHA's requirements. Even then it is doubtful that the video alone can provide the training.

When you talk about emergency response you are talking about matters, potentially of life and death. No video is going to train a fire fighter to operate a pump, don chemical protective clothing, or proportion foam. Training an emergency responder requires an instructor- someone competent and experienced. It usually requires some classroom work, and some hands-on training in the field- at least some of which should be under simulated emergency conditions. In other words, if you expect an emergency responder to carry out a task, you better be sure that the emergency responder had competency-based training and you better keep records.

Does that mean there is no role for video? We hope there is. But at the Emergency Film Group, we design our videos and the books that accompany them as training aids for the instructor. First, we provide some compelling visuals that otherwise wouldn't be available to the instructor. Secondly, through extensive research and by constant review by leading professionals in the field, we provide eight or ten of the most important lessons to be learned about the subject- with emphasis on safety and good management. So the video might be used as an introduction to the subject, or as a review. But showing the video, no matter how good it is, and doing nothing else, will not put you in compliance.

We can't provide all your training for you, but as our motto says, we can provide "training tools for an increasingly complex and dangerous job."

Gordon Massingham has produced most of the training programs in the Emergency Film Group catalog and has been responsible for creating more than 150 emergency response training programs during the past 25 years. In 2004 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Note: Although we can’t satisfy all your OSHA training requirements, Emergency Film Group has dozens of video-based training programs that are designed to the latest OSHA and NFPA standards

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