Comprehensive resources make Safety.BLR.com a good tool for OSH professionals.
- By Valerie Weadock
- Jan 01, 2004
IT'S a supercenter world. Stores that sell fishing tackle, car tires, lamps,
and apples only aisles apart are thriving. These retailers may tout lower prices
and friendly service, but if you ask customers why they shop at these locations,
you'll hear one answer again and again--convenience. "If we didn't come here,
we'd have to go to at least three separate stores for the things on our list,"
explained the couple ahead of me recently in a supercenter's checkout line.
"With work, the kids, and everything else, we just don't have time for
The time crunch isn't confined to just our personal lives, either. At work,
like so many other employees, safety professionals can have more
responsibilities, decreased budgets, smaller staffs, and, of course, less time.
Non-safety professionals, such as human resources experts, may find themselves
charged with safety training and compliance in addition to their normal duties.
With to-do lists consisting of training, checklists, safety meetings, tailgate
talks, regulations, regulatory interpretations, and more, these individuals
could use a little "supercenter" convenience at work.
With that need in mind, Business and Legal Reports (BLR) launched
Safety.BLR.com, the Wal-Mart of online safety resources. "The site has been
designed to help safety professionals easily locate and download customizable
training aids for just about every safety topic, quickly find answers to their
compliance questions, keep up with regulatory changes, and research best
practices guidance--all in one place," said Kim Ryan, senior project manager of
new product development.
Training on Aisles 1-10
The site features hundreds of customizable
safety training resources written by BLR subject matter experts, consultants,
attorneys, and editors. You can download PowerPoint presentations, toolbox
talks, handouts, and activities to train employees on topics ranging from
accident prevention and asbestos to trenching and workplace violence. The site
helps to test and reinforce training by providing topic-specific quizzes and
employee certificates. Those new to, or unfamiliar with, safety management also
can download training checklists, instructions on holding safety meetings, and
trainers' outlines. "[The site] represents a comprehensive collection of our
large body of health and safety content," said Steve Quilliam, managing
Because training materials are based on federal and state OSH regulations and
directives and industry best practices, they can be sorted to meet the federal
rules or, if available, a specific state's jurisdiction. The site currently
offers 42 training handouts in Spanish, and BLR is looking into translating more
of its content into Spanish. Clip Art and other graphics related to the training
topics are available for download.
The Blue Light Special: Compliance
In addition to training materials,
Safety.BLR.com features compliance resources, including regulations, regulatory
analysis, interpretations, directives, and updates on regulatory activity. As
with the training resources, you can search compliance materials at either the
state or federal level.
"Early in the development process, we identified plain-English regulatory
interpretation focused on federal-state differences as one of the critical tools
for the health and safety professional that we needed to include on the site,"
Quilliam said. Using a model that had been successful for it in other markets,
the company developed federal analysis on key topics, complemented by documents
on how requirements differ from state to state, Quilliam said.
Updated daily, the site's regulatory activity is culled from state and
federal registers and includes final regulations, proposed regulations, and
other notices that pertain to the health and safety field.
Other Featured Items
Illustrating real-world examples of both
training and compliance, Safety.BLR.com includes links to case studies on nearly
every topic the site covers. You also can download how-to guides on topics such
as audits, general safety, inspections, and dealing with workplace violence.
Numerous white papers are available.
If you can't find the information you're looking for, the site's "Ask the
Experts" button allows you to submit a question to BLR via an electronic form.
BLR directs the question to the appropriate staff member and usually responds
within one business day.
Additional buttons on the site allow you to read updated safety news,
subscribe to a weekly safety e-magazine, and keep abreast of upcoming safety
events. A "Personalize the Site" button is included, but this feature currently
allows you only to place the states of particular interest to you at the top of
the list of states when sorting by jurisdiction.
If you have a competitive nature, Safety.BLR.com can test your safety
knowledge with the weekly OSHA challenge featuring a multiple-choice question
regarding OSHA regulations and their interpretations. You can register to keep
track of your colleagues' and other safety professionals' score via BLR's OSHA
Free Trial & Annual Fees
While Safety.BLR.com offers a
supercenter solution, it doesn't necessarily come at a supercenter price. BLR
currently offers a 30-day free trial, but an annual subscription to the site
starts at $495, with multi-user discounts and site license opportunities also
available. In today's business world, time may be expensive, but convenience
won't necessarily be on sale.
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.