As with any industrial or construction occupation, industrial heating is as safe or as dangerous as you make it. With extreme temperatures and potentially hazardous work environments, safety precautions should be one of the foremost thoughts on your mind. Otherwise, the results can be harmful at best and deadly at worst.

In 2006, there were more than 4 million recorded nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses and nearly 6,000 work-related fatalities. Of the nonfatal injuries and illnesses, a quarter resulted in workers having to take days away from work. And that cuts into your bottom line.

It’s important to ensure your employees get the training they need, especially when it comes to safety procedures in industrial heating. However, actually developing the courses can be both time-consuming and stressful.

Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular and inexpensive course-authoring tools available, and it can be integrated with other software programs that convert PowerPoint presentations into flash-based online training courses. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your employee-training courses.

Define Your Objectives
Clearly defined objectives are crucial to an effective training course. Before you start writing the actual content for the course, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. For example, do you want to review general heat-safety protocol for new employees or focus solely on the inhalation and skin-contact hazards involved in their area of responsibility?

Decide what you want your employees to learn, and break it down into points to cover. If you are working on a course about metal-pouring hazards, for instance, you would first discuss what the hazards are and why they are dangerous before you talked about what safety measures to take.

For example, in a metal-pouring safety course, you should first discuss dangers employees will face, such as molten-metal splashes and hazardous fumes released during the metal-pouring process. Once you have established the threat, you can then cover ways for employees to protect themselves.

Explaining the reasoning behind safety measures can lead to higher compliance rates. Workers are more likely to pay attention to direct threats to their health and take measures to avoid those problems.

Don’t Load too Much Information into One Course
The easiest way to drive a training course’s effectiveness into the ground is to cram all the information there could possibly be on a subject into a single course. You might find the history of forging indescribably interesting, but chances are your employees will resent spending an hour of their time taking a course that only includes 15 minutes of useful information.

If you’ve defined your objectives, it should be relatively easy to stay focused and on topic. If you’re talking about inhalation hazards, then save the information on ingestion and skin-contact hazards for a separate course.

Keep the important stuff and discard the fluff – no matter how fascinating you think it is. Let your employees get in, take the course and get back to their jobs.

Always Have a Conclusion
Just like the essays you had to write in high school, a good safety course needs a conclusion that succinctly summarizes the main ideas in the course. By reiterating the main points, you increase the chances that your employees will retain that information, which is the goal of all your training efforts. A safety course is useless if your employees don’t remember the precautions they are supposed to take.

Get the Most Out of Your Courses
After developing a PowerPoint training course, you can distribute it to your employees using a learning management system. A flash-conversion software program, such as Swift Presenter, is used to convert the file to flash for this purpose.

These software programs can turn your basic PowerPoint courses into online courses with audio narration to synchronize with your animations, creating a truly interactive course. Another feature (among many others) is the addition of an assessment quiz at the end of each course to ensure your employees have retained the information.

There are several learning management systems out there, including many that are hosted. Web-hosted programs don’t require special software installation or computer servers. If you’re interested in one, determine the features you would need before plunking down the money for software with all the bells and whistles, when you might only need the bells.

Don’t let employee ignorance regarding safety protocols cost you money or worse – employees. If you take the time to plan out your training courses, you can ensure that your employees will be knowledgeable, informed and, most importantly, safe.IH

For more information:Contact Preston Stiner at Evolve e-Learning Solutions, 3106 East Skelly Dr., Suite 509, Tulsa, OK 74105; tel: 918-398-9077; e-mail:; web: