OSHA launches hazard identification training tool

OSHA’s new Hazard Identification Training Tool is designed as “an interactive, online, game-based training tool for small business owners, workers and others interested in learning the core concepts of hazard identification.”

Users enter a rudimentary virtual world where they are able to choose to visit one of four scenarios: OSHA Visual Inspection Training, Manufacturing, Construction, and Emergency Room.

OSHA recommends users start with the OSHA Visual Inspection Training where there is a choice of six different pieces of equipment.

For example, choosing the “Housekeeping” option brings you to a screen with a cleaning cart and an employee. You are given a Hazard Checklist which you check off by using three tools: Inspect Equipment, Observe Operations, and Involve Worker.

Once you have completed your inspection, OSHA gives you your results and the reasons behind the answers. Both inspecting the equipment and observing it in operation are more interesting than staring at a manual but, nonetheless, they are basic and fall short of providing all the answers. Involving the worker results in a series of word bubbles giving hints which directly correlate to the potential hazards.

 It is possible to score a near perfect score 100% of the time by simply involving the worker. Perhaps OSHA is consciously or subconsiously trying to emphasize the importance of involving workers in the health and safety of the workplace.

Choosing to enter one of the other scenarios lets you assume the role of the boss (owner or supervisor) or the worker. In the Manufacturing scenario, you, as the owner of the company, have “20 weeks to maximise your profit while keeping your workforce safe.” Each week you are allowed a maximum of 40 actions to identify and fix hazards – actions not used by the end of the week result in a profit.

The sgency’s website summarizes it best: “The user determines how much time to spend on ensuring a safe and healthful work environment and how much to dedicate to making money.” However, in playing the game, it seems that the secret to making a profit is to consciously choose not to use all your actions, thereby spending less time identifying hazards and fixing only the most egregious hazards. In contrast, by using all 40 actions to identify and fix hazards, you will be operating at a loss. This would seem to run counter to the OSH Act which requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers.

Perhaps with more practice using the hazard identification training tool it might be possible to be responsible while also maximising profits.


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