Effective EHS Training: ANSI’s Z490.1 Provides Nice Approach

Many companies spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to maintain high standards for the environment, health, and safety (EHS). And this often involves-and should involve-an EHS training component.

For example, OSHA and similar regulatory agencies require EHS training at the workplace in many different circumstances. The regulations make it clear enough when training is required.

Beyond that, OSHA tells you that EHS training should be effective. They tell that you need to ensure it’s effective (through some form of assessment). And they tell you to provide it in a language the employee understands.

But it’s not always so clear exactly how to create effective EHS training. That’s not spelled out in the regulations. But fortunately, we’ve got ANSI Z490.1 for that.

Z 490.1, titled “Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health and Environmental Training,” provides a national standard for creating, maintaining, and evaluating an EHS training program.

So let’s dig into ANSI Z 490.1 and see what’s it’s all about. First, let’s deal with some common questions.

Common Questions about ANSI and ANSI Standards

What is ANSI?

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. Also, they are “a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system.” (I snagged that quote from their web page.) Read more about ANSI at their FAQs page or check out this ANSI Overview they created.

Do ANSI standards have the power of law?

No, not by themselves. But in some cases, a regulatory agency may include an ANSI standard within its own standard, stating that people should follow the ANSI standard in given circumstances. OSHA calls this incorporation by reference. ANSI has created a portal for its standards that have been incorporated by reference.



Common Questions about ANSI Z490.1

So what’s ANSI Z490.1?

It’s a national standard created to provide guidelines for safety, health, and environmental training. Basically, its creators took accepted practices in the training industry and put them into an EHS context.

Who created ANSI Z490.1?

An ANSI/ASSE task force. ASSE, in case you don’t know, is the American Society of Safety Engineers. Pretty credible folks on the topic of EHS.

Where can I find and read ANSI Z490.1?

Here’s Z490.1. Note that this isn’t free. It will set you back $77 or $92, depending on the packet you buy.

How many sections does ANSI Z490.1 include and what are they?

It has seven different sections and is fifty-two pages long. Those sections are:

  1. Scope, Purpose, and Application
  2. Definitions
  3. Training Program Administration and Management
  4. Training Development
  5. Training Delivery
  6. Training Evaluation
  7. Documentation and Record Keeping

There are also three annexes:

  1. References
  2. Training Course Development Guidelines
  3. EHS Trainer’s Checklist

What does ANSI Z490.1 say about training development?

The standard covers training development in section 4.



This section says that training development should be a systematic process including:

  • A needs assessment
  • Learning objectives
  • Course design
  • An evaluation strategy
  • Criteria for completion
  • A plan for continuous improvement

What does ANSI Z490.1 say about training delivery?

The standard covers training delivery in section 5.

This section covers the importance of:

  • Using teaching and instructional methods that are appropriate for your training audience
  • Creating (and using) training materials that are appropriate for your training audience
  • Using adult learning principles

What does ANSI Z490.1 say about training evaluation?

The standard covers training evaluation in section 6.

In this section, the ANSI standard stresses the importance of evaluating your EHS training courses and program, including the use of:

  • Test results (and results of other assessments of training)
  • Trainee feedback, including post-training survey/evaluations
  • Post-training behaviors and observations
  • Continuous evaluation and improvement efforts

ANSI Z490.1 is a great resource for anybody looking to develop or improve their EHS training programs.  You can also find a FREE EHS Training Best Practices manual prepared by the University of California at FREE EHS Training Manual.

Also, you can down load our FREE training matrix on the tab – FREE ISO Tools..

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