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Refresher Training

What Does Refresher Training Mean?

In the context of safety standards, refresher training is a type of occupational health and safety training that involves an individual receiving training in a subject that they have already been trained in. The goal of the refresher training is to ensure that skills learned during the initial training are not lost due to lack of use. Refresher training also provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about changes-in/updates-to the safety approach they are being re-trained in.

Safeopedia Explains Refresher Training

The use of refresher training is an important component of occupational health and safety programs; it provides a means through which workplaces can prevent the degradation of safety skills, keeps those skills up-to-date, and acts as an opportunity to reinforce workplace safety culture.

There are a variety of OHS regulations and standards that require refresher training for individuals who are exposed to certain hazards and risks. For example, OSHA standards require refresher training for work with hazardous substances such as lead, vinyl chloride, arsenic, coke ovens, hazardous waste, blood products, and numerous others.

Many refresher training courses are required annually; however, some standards (e.g., OSHA 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection) require retraining whenever there is an indication that an employee is not performing a safety activity correctly, or if work circumstances change significantly. High-risk tasks (such as firefighting) may also require training at more frequent intervals than annually, while low-risk, management-focused safety training is generally required only once every few years.

Refresher training is also used to ensure that workers stay up to date with changes to regulatory and consensus standards. As many standards and regulations are changed every year, an individual’s understanding of how to comply with existing safety standards can need to be refreshed even if they remain fluent in the skills taught during their initial training. For example, training in NFPA 70E (electrical safety), must be updated every three years, which is also how frequently NFPA 70E is updated.

A refresher training course may provide either complete or abridged training in a given safety topic, depending on the requirements of the individual and the standard they are being re-trained to comply with.


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