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Is Computer-Based Training Enough to Satisfy OSHA?

Computer training by itself will not achieve the change in behaviors that are necessary to prevent injuries, for life.

OSHA states that training courses must offer interactive and hands-on opportunities with qualified trainers.

OSHA takes employee injury prevention and safety training very seriously. In support of that commitment OSHA recently reinforced its stated policy that online and computer training alone for employees is not adequate to meet OSHA training requirements.

One of the keys that OSHA emphasizes in all of its efforts is the importance of training. Training must be provided to workers who face hazards on the job. It’s the law, and it’s also good for every business. A highly trained workforce minimizes unnecessary costs and disruptions from an illness, injury, or fatality.

In today’s age of high-tech, with everyone glued to their smart phones and relying on Google the way they once used Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s not surprising that some employers would be tempted to believe that computer training alone could be enough to meet OSHA’s requirements, but it’s just not so.

OSHA’s interpretation of its requirement that ”training must result in mastery of the training material” leads to the conclusion that “online training must be supplemented by interactive and physical components.” A simple example would be putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPE). In order for injury prevention training to be effective, practicing and mastering why and how one uses their body to perform tasks is key to successful and compliant training.

OSHA adds that the opportunity for workers to be able to ask questions and receive responses from a qualified trainer, in a timely manner, is critical for training to be effective. As a result OSHA says that online training by itself that does not provide employees with this opportunity would not be in compliance with OSHA’s worker training requirements.

Training with no interaction, or delayed or limited interaction between the trainer and trainee may halt or negatively affect a trainee’s ability to understand and/or retain the training material, according to OSHA.

Equally important is the provision of effective hands-on training, because this allows an employee to interact with equipment and tools in the presence of a qualified trainer, allows the employee to learn or refresh their skills through experience, and allows the trainer to assess whether the trainees have mastered the proper techniques.

For training to be considered adequate, OSHA says a qualified trainer must supplement and facilitate any appropriate hands-on training or demonstration, such as how to use a tool, perform a task or don appropriate PPE, as necessary for the employee to learn the proper techniques and for the trainer to assess the employee’s mastery of them.

Time is of the essence, too. A qualified trainer must be available in a “timely manner” to answer questions during the training. Training with no interaction, or delayed or limited interaction, between the trainer and trainee may halt or negatively affect a trainee’s ability to understand and/or retain the training material.

Perhaps over the next 20 years, advances in virtual reality, interactive holographic imagery or robotic android technologies may afford a viable substitute for the way interactive employee training can be delivered, but for now, employers still need to do some things the old-fashioned way.

Real Solutions

With over 30 years of successful workforce health and injury prevention training experience, Accurate Ergonomics (AE) developed a training system that not only meets the OSHA the criteria above, our training courses are scalable, easy to deliver and have been proven to achieve positive results in every application.

AE training courses include individual and group practical (hands-on) sessions, plus a skills reinforcement training and coaching process. Training courses are available for internal trainers and supervisors (Train-the-Trainer), active and at-desk employees.

Training and support packages include an Implementation and Instructor Guide, course deliverables and a support process that makes it easy to achieve and maintain compliance with OSHA regulations, prevent the vast majority of musculoskeletal injuries and create a true culture of prevention.

Visit to learn more about our industry leading training system, call 1.866.950.3746, or email


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