(Article ‘Is it Healthy to use SharePoint to Store Safety and
Compliance Training Records? Yes and No.’ by John Kleeman, Questionmark,
adapted from the SharePoint and Assessments blog: http://blog.sharepointlearn.com).
When delivering training for health and safety reasons or for
compliance with regulations, it’s usual to document that people
have been through training, so that if something goes wrong, you
have proof of the training. To quote the US OSHA (www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2254.pdf):
Documentation can also supply an answer to one of the first
questions an accident investigator will ask: “Was the injured
employee trained to do the job?
SharePoint seems a reasonable place to store documentation of
training, either to scan in any paper attendance or completion
forms, or else if training is conducted online to use SharePoint
list and record-keeping details to get the employee to confirm that
they have received the training. If it’s stored in SharePoint, it
will be retained with other data and accessible into the long term
future, and so the initial answer to the question seems a
But I recently read an excellent blog series on the
SafetyXChange website (
Some companies ask their workers to sign a form after
training sessions acknowledging that they understood the lesson and
will put it into practice. Don’t let these forms lull you into a
false sense of security. “Most workers will just sign these things
without even reading them, let alone making sure that they
understood everything you told them,” says a health and safety
attorney in New York City. This is especially true if the training
and instructions are complicated.
It also gives a report of a law case where a US Appeals Court
ruled (my underlining):
individual sign a form acknowledging his responsibility to read the
safety manual is insufficient to
insure that the detailed instructions contained therein have
actually been communicated.
So you need to do more than just record that training has
happened or even get people to sign a form to confirm that they
understand. Just doing this is not enough in some jurisdictions to
make you confident if something goes wrong. Although this applies
to safety training, it seems it also might apply to training for
SafetyXChange in the blog series mentioned above advise you must
make an active effort to verify that workers retained the lessons
you taught them. One way of doing this is a post-training quiz or
another is having a skilled person observe the worker to check they
put the training into effect. Both of these can be done in
SharePoint – see some articles on http://blog.sharepointlearn.com
for details – but if you conduct training and don’t use a quiz/test
or other means to verify it’s being understood, then you may not be
as compliant as you hoped to be.
Come meet John at the European
SharePoint Conference in Berlin.