The Upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 Standard on Online EHS Training

ANSI ASSP Z90.2 Online EHS Training Development

As you may have read in another post, the ANSI/ASSP Z490.1-Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training provides a well-structured process for the design, development, delivery, evaluation, and continual improvement of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) training and was updated in 2016.

But what you may not know is that the people working on ANSI/ASSP standards regarding EHS training are currently busy at work on a second standard, ANSI/ASSP Z490.2—Criteria for Accepted Practices in Online Safety, Health, and Environmental training. Given the increasing importance of the Internet and mobile devices in all aspects of life, including training of all types, it’s easy to see the need for Z490.2.

The Z490.2 standard should be thought of as a supplement to Z490.1 and not a replacement. As draft language in the new standard’s forward explains, “This standard supports the concepts of Z490.1 and is arranged to complement and enhance the concepts discussed in that standard.”

Because the Z490.2 “online” standard is intended as a complement to the earlier Z490.1 standard, it’s written in a parallel structure with the same sections. For example, Z490.1 includes 7 sections (1-Scope, Purpose, and Application; 2-Definitions; 3-Management of a Comprehensive Training Program; 4-Training Program/Course Development; 5-Training Delivery; 6-Training Evaluation; and 7-Documentation and Recordkeeping) in addition to some annexes, and Z490.2 includes the same 7 sections in the same order and with the same names, along with its own set of annexes.

Each section in the new Z490.2 standard includes a note in the “Explanatory Information” column on the right-hand side stating that the reader should follow all guidelines in the corresponding section of Z490.1 PLUS the additional requirements related to online components.

A few examples of online-specific requirements included in Z490.2 are as follows:

  • Section 2, Definitions, includes an entirely different set of terms than those defined in Z490.1
  • Section 3, Training Program Administration and Management, includes a requirement to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Section 4, when addressing the needs assessment, requires an evaluation of the technology available to deliver the training and the learner’s technology skills
  • Section 5, Training Delivery, deals extensively with technology associated with delivery of training in an online environment

(Please remember that only a few of the many differences are listed above, and they are based on draft language that could still change).

One especially interesting thing that the writers of the standard have debated is what “online training” means, especially in an era of rapid technological change. For example, does it include virtual reality (VR) and/or augmented reality (AR), which exist and are being used today and will undoubtedly become increasingly common in the near future.

Although it’s impossible to predict the exact release date of the new Z490.2 standard, the sub-committee members currently working on it believe they’ll be finished in 2018.

One of the members of the sub-committee creating the standard writes periodic progress updates after each revision of the draft standard. You can find the most recent Z490.2 update here.

Contributing Author: Jeff Dalto, Senior Learning & Development Specialist, Convergence Training

Jeff Dalto is the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He’s an instructional designer with more than 20 years of experience (including more than 10 in safety), is a member of the ANSI/ASSE Z490.2 sub-committee, and is an OSHA authorized 10- and 30-hour General Industry trainer. He writes on issues related to safety, training, safety training, and more at the company’s blog.

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