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PERC highlights safety training, CETP updates at conference

January 30, 2020 By    
Attendees in one of the three breakout sessions of the conference, “New Curriculum for New Employees,” hosted by PERC’s Emily Wood. Photo by Tyler Gunter

Attendees in one of the three breakout sessions of the conference, “New Curriculum for New Employees,” hosted by PERC’s Emily Wood. Photo by Tyler Gunter

Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), opened the 2020 National Safety & Trainer’s Conference the same way he likes to start every meeting – by making sure everybody in the room knows one another.

After 116 state executives, safety trainers and other industry professionals passed the microphone to introduce themselves, the conference officially began at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

The topics of discussion ranged from the most effective ways to train for propane emergencies to federal regulatory and code updates, but the topic that piqued the most interest in the room was the updated Certified Employee Training Program (CETP).

“We’ve been actually talking about this [changing CETP] for almost two full years now,” says Eric Kuster, vice president of safety, education and compliance at PERC. “We took industry leaders, safety professionals and propane employers and basically got them together and said ‘What do you need in a program? What’s going to work better for you?’”

CETP updates

“The biggest changes for the program are that we are going to take these large courses and condense them into these bite-sized chunks for the industry,” says Lyndon Rickards, director of safety and compliance at PERC.

Kuster followed up with details.

“We had 14 very large programs and we’re breaking it into about 50 or so smaller pieces that are going to be delivered in a variety of ways. It can be done in the classroom or on our learning center.”

According to PERC, as of Jan. 22, more than 1,000 people logged into its new learning management system (LMS), completing more than 2,000 total modules with 503 programs in progress.

The changes coming to CETP also should give employers more information to help teach in-person. In one of three breakout sessions offered during the conference, Emily Wood, educational content development coordinator at PERC, mentioned that with the new LMS, employers will be able to view how long employees spend on each module and see how they performed on the quizzes.

“It’s in a format where the employers can customize the smaller pieces, or modules, to fit the needs of what their employee does on a day-to-day basis,” Kuster adds.


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Retaining knowledge

One of the main goals of the updated CETP is to help employees retain the knowledge they gain from the program.

Dave Latourell, director of safety and transportation at Paraco Gas, took the stage to discuss teaching employees how to handle propane emergencies. After spending 25 years in the fire service, Latourell advises, “Never say never. Never say always,” when it comes to propane emergencies.

“Based on research, house fires and structural fires in the U.S. are mainly caused by electrical issues,” he says. “But that’s not front-page news. Propane has one accident – and it’s front-page news.”

Safety training is important, but being able to retain that training is even more important, Latourell emphasizes. The new CETP program will help make this happen, he adds.
The program aims to enhance knowledge retention by not only condensing information into interactive modules, but also changing the way users are presented and taught information.

“This should give employees a better opportunity to learn, and learn in a different way,” Rickards says.

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