Implementing a safety and training vision

December 1, 2004 By    

The Propane Education & Research Council and the National Propane Gas Association have worked to develop an integrated strategy to achieve the highest levels of safety for any fuel source. This strategy establishes a vision, safety goals and training priorities as well as the means to implement them.

 Stuart Flatow
Stuart Flatow

The Safety and Training Roadmap, an industry concensus document developed in 2002, envisioned that by 2010 propane’s exemplary safety record would be recognized as a major industry asset and a catalyst for increased sales and profits. A concerted focus on employee training, consumer safety education, public outreach, communication with regulators and corporate commitment to safety would steer the industry to its goal to create and maintain a high public confidence in the safety and value of propane.

The industry’s strategy focuses on four main elements to foster an integrated and robust safety effort: employee training; external training and education for consumers and emergency personnel; management and industry leadership; and the use of critical outreach and information technologies.

Implementing the Vision

In 2002, PERC bought NPGA’s safety and training programs. The purchase agreement allows NPGA to maintain the content of the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) program. This alliance has given the industry a state-of-the-art training program that provides instruction on the daily tasks done by propane industry employees.


Ongoing Projects

Formal employee training projects under way include:

E-Learning. PERC recently approved funds to develop an e-learning training program for several newly revised CETP books. Expected to be available in 2006, the modules include Basic Principles and Practices, Delivery Basics, Operating a Bobtail to Deliver Propane, and Operating a Cylinder Delivery Vehicle to Deliver Propane. The new, interactive DVD program will allow marketers to train their employees at their convenience; document the training; and apply the sessions to NPGA CETP certification, should the marketer choose to do so.

Gas Check. Working with NPGA, PERC expects to offer a revised, voluntary Gas Check program by the end of 2004.

Propane Instructor Database and Newsletter. In an effort to keep propane instructors informed on the latest safety and training initiatives, PERC encourages instructors to be part of its instructor database. An electronic newsletter is sent to all instructors on the database, which also is used by state associations and marketers seeking instructors.

External training and education projects underway include:

Consumer Safety Education Campaign. Now in the second phase of the campaign, PERC is revising consumer safety/duty to warn materials to clearly instruct customers how to use propane safely and the actions they need to take in the event of an emergency.

Safe Grilling. With millions of propane grills in use nationally, PERC is in its fifth year of an aggressive, multi-faceted safe grilling campaign that includes media outreach and point-of-purchase materials.

Propane Emergencies. The industry’s flagship program continues to be the award-winning Propane Emergencies Program, which has provided training to thousands of emergency response personnel. This year, PERC added the Propane Emergencies Marketer Training Outreach Kit as a means to get the propane marketers more involved in building relationships with their local fire personnel.

Forklift Market. PERC continues to fund a seminar series on how to maintain and tune propane-powered forklifts to reduce dangerous engine emissions.

Management and industry leadership programs include:

Safety Metrics. PERC is finalizing a study to identify the causes and costs of injuries in the U.S. propane industry. We also continue to collect data on causes of incidents in our industry. Together, these initiatives will provide a baseline metrics needed to measure and gauge safety management systems.

Propane Regulatory Compliance Program. Since 2002, PERC has provided more than 9,000 copies of this easy-to-use guideline to help marketers comply with federal OSHA, DOT, and EPA requirements and train employers to comply with OSHA and DOT hazardous materials regulations. An OSHA/DOT program that will include a new security training module is expected in 2005.

Fire Safety Analysis: Working with NPGA and the National Fire Protection Association PERC has funded a Fire Safety Analysis program to help marketers comply with FSA requirements.

PERC is working hard to put the propane industry’s investment to work. It is an investment that will pay dividends through a safer work force, reduced costs due to injuries and incidents, and an earned public confidence in the value and safety of propane.

Stuart Flatow Vice President, Safety & Training Propane Education & Research Council

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