Recently, our lead instructor, Dawid Ditrich, headed to England to facilitate a HAZWOPER training at the request of the United States Air Force (USAF). Gallagher Bassett has a history of providing specialized trainings for a variety of clients including government agencies. Here’s Dawid’s story on this trip and the training we facilitated.
This training was done at the request of the USAF, in which ways is this type of training different from one we’d do for a private entity? How are they similar?
The main difference was obviously the security concerns when it comes to the location of training. I had to go through a security check each morning before I was able to access the base. Otherwise, it was definitely a different crew, mainly employees doing facility maintenance and some members of their environmental department.
They deal with jet fuel and must be prepared for potential spills. Since the base is relatively old (a WWII-era base), they sometimes find old 55-gallon drums buried in soil as well. Everything else was pretty much the same: class setting, materials, available equipment.
What was interesting is that US employees had to follow US DOL safety regulations, and UK employees are covered by EU standards even though it’s one location. So for example, the respirators they are using are NIOSH approved (US agency), but their hard hats had only CE standards on them (European).
Did we do anything out of the ordinary for this client?
We were able to use their site-specific PPE (Level 1 and 3 chemical protective clothing) and chemical containers. Also, we were allowed to use the outside space for hands-on activities. Typically we are limited to our own equipment and space at LIC. This time, we were able to make it more realistic, and give students the opportunity to don and doff equipment that they don’t use on a daily basis, but may need it during emergency response.
Every training class is different; what if anything stood out about this client?
Students were definitely more curious than our typical clientele. This was caused by the fact that they deal with environmental-issues each day, so we were able to expand on certain topics. They already had basic knowledge of SDS, GHS, Chemical labels, and chemical properties. They were curious about OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard and how it applies, and that’s what made this class so interesting.
What was the overall experience like – both for yourself as an instructor and from what you can tell, the class?
I think the students enjoyed it. I received positive feedback from all, and I think they enjoyed participation and learning activities. I enjoyed it because it was an unusual setting and something we don’t do every day.
Did you get a chance to explore England? Anything fun/interesting you found along the way?
I tried to explore the local town of Thetford. It is a typical, small multicultural English town with lots of restaurants and places to hang out. Unfortunately, I was sick for the first 2 days and stayed in bed. As the week went by, I got a chance to explore the town a little bit.