Is it Healthy to use SharePoint to Store Safety and Compliance Training Records? Yes and No.

When  delivering training for health and safety reasons or for compliance with regulations, it’s usual to document that people have been through training, so that if something goes wrong, you have proof of the training. To quote OSHADocumentation can also supply an answer to one of the first questions an accident investigator will ask: “Was the injured employee trained to do the job?

SharePoint seems a reasonable place to store documentation of training, either to scan in any paper attendance or completion forms, or else if training is conducted online to use SharePoint list and record-keeping details to get the employee to confirm that they have received the training. If it’s stored in SharePoint, it will be retained with other data and accessible into the long term future, and so the initial answer to the question seems a “yes”.

But I recently read an excellent blog series on the SafetyXChange website which says:

Some companies ask their workers to sign a form after training sessions acknowledging that they understood the lesson and will put it into practice. Don’t let these forms lull you into a false sense of security. “Most workers will just sign these things without even reading them, let alone making sure that they understood everything you told them,” says a health and safety attorney in New York City. This is especially true if the training and instructions are complicated.

It also gives a report of a law case where a US Appeals Court ruled (my underlining):

A reasonable mind might well accept that merely having an individual sign a form acknowledging his responsibility to read the safety manual is insufficient to insure that the detailed instructions contained therein have actually been communicated.

So you need to do more than just record that training has happened or even get people to sign a form to confirm that they understand. Just doing this is not enough in some jurisdictions to make you confident if something goes wrong. Although this applies to safety training, it seems it also might apply to training for regulatory compliance.

SafetyXChange advise you must make an active effort to verify that workers retained the lessons you taught them. One way of doing this is a post-training quiz or another is having a skilled person observe the worker to check they put the training into effect. Both of these can be done in SharePoint – see other articles on this blog for details – but if you conduct training and don’t use a quiz/test or other means to verify it’s being understood, then you may not be as compliant as you hoped to be.

 

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