ANNAPOLIS, Md.—NAHAD's Hose Safety Institute has digitized its handbook to create a series of online courses for those looking to be HSI-certified to properly fabricate hose assemblies.
In addition, the association for hose and accessories distribution has planned a regional in-person training program for Cleveland on Sept. 10-11 that will include a half-day session of presentations followed by a full day of hands-on hose fabrication training at the site of two NAHAD member companies.
It was decided to digitize the Hose Safety Institute handbook because it has a large volume of useful content, but association officials wanted it organized in a way to create a solid learning experience, according to Joanna Truitt, NAHAD director of training and the Hose Safety Institute.
"So we took the chapters, which were perfectly organized in the handbook, and created a series of courses," she said.
And for the first time, the courses will be available to all NAHAD members, not just HSI members, a huge paradigm shift for Annapolis-based NAHAD.
"HSI is a program of NAHAD and by virtue of being a program, anything it does really should be fully open to all members," Truitt said. "That's the capability we now have to ensure it's a seamless process. And our intention here is that we want as many NAHAD members to be HSI-certified because it's such an important initiative."
Making the switch
Truitt is relatively new to NAHAD, but not to education. She was a university administrator for about 20 years, then switched to being an education director for a non-profit organization. Her last position was with a certified financial planners board that had a rigorous education program.
"It was the perfect segue into NAHAD," she said. "Education is the continuity. I was passionate about being innovative and I like organizations I work with to be the innovators and be out front."
She said she has received that type of support since joining the hose distribution group, starting with Executive Vice President Molly Alton Mullins on down.
Truitt said NAHAD's HSI handbook had good content to start with, and if someone had the original handbook they could follow along with the courses. "What we did was create shorter education modules with learning in mind," she said.
All the courses are organized in a similar manner and are designed to be highly interactive, and also have knowledge checks interspersed into the data presented. Truitt said where the handbook had 200-question assessments for certification, in designing the digital courses NAHAD incorporated 20 percent of the questions into the course, and the remaining 80 percent became the assessment.
"All of the courses start with an outline of the learning objectives," she said. "When the learning objectives are displayed, then all of the content is organized through a menu on the left hand of the screen, so the learner essentially follows in a progressive manner through the course."
There was so much content that the organizers had to be creative in how to present it. The courses, Truitt said, are fully narrated and have different activities built in throughout that are all focused specifically on the content being delivered.
For example, when learning about the fittings needed for specific types of hoses, there could be images of different fittings on the left, then have names in the right column. The student would then have to move the name to be able to identify the proper fitting.
The courses are progressive in manner, starting with hose basics. After completing the assessment for that course, the user determines what type of hose they'd like to be certified in: hydraulic, industrial, composite or corrugated metal.
There is more content for hydraulic and industrial, so those are broken into three parts, Truitt said. Each of those should take roughly three hours to complete. She added the basic hose section takes about 50 minutes to complete, while the composite and metal courses should take a bit more than an hour each.
"Each ends with an assessment that is very specific to content," she said. "If you pass the final assessment, you move on to post-fabrication."
Post-fabrication made up the final chapters in the handbook and include details about cleaning, testing, tagging, wrapping, proper storage and safety. "When you've completed hose basics assessment, hose specific assessment and hose fabrication assessment, then you are HSI-certified," Truitt said.
NAHAD went this direction with its certification process because despite having such a collection of high-quality content, she said there was a feeling that the members weren't taking advantage of it to the degree they should be. Digitization seemed to be the logical next step to take the content and put it in a format that resonated better with users.
"This makes it easy for our members not only to access it but also to go through it and understand it and comprehend the concepts that were being shared," Truitt said. "It's all about the learner and helping them get through this content. Sitting on a shelf is not a good place for it to be. You want good content in front of our members."
Response since the digital format was unveiled at NAHAD's convention this past spring has been phenomenal, she said. One area where the safety institute director expects the courses to be helpful is with the onboarding of new employees. While not something the company would throw at new workers on their first day, after working with a mentor on the shop floor for two weeks and seeing the process in work, they then could build a solid foundation by taking the courses.
"All of our members are extremely conscious about how they do things and very meticulous with our business models and their delivery systems," Truitt said. "Hose Safety Institute members agree to a bit of a higher standard, but the reality is that all of our members have a concern about hose safety, and that's why this training is important for all of our members."
Taking to the road
NAHAD used to conduct regional training, the HSI director said, but abandoned it a couple years ago for a variety of reasons. But the NAHAD board pegged resurrecting the program as a strategic initiative, leading to the Sept. 10-11 session in Cleveland.
Truitt said Cleveland was chosen because there are so many NAHAD members in the region, both manufacturers and distributors.
Hose Master, a producer of corrugated metal hose, and distributor Summers Rubber, are hosting participants during the Sept. 11 hands-on training part of the sessions, which are based on the best practices introduced in the certification course.
The training program begins with an afternoon session of presentations, starting with a panel discussion on building a culture of safety, followed by three industry-related talks. The second day will break participants into two groups, with everyone spending half the day at Summers Rubber and half at Hose Master.
And while Hose Master produces metal hose, the basics of the fabrication process are transferable, Truitt said. "The reality is don't think about the hose type, think about the function. And how you would apply that function to any hose type you're working with, and why there's particular care in this step."
Registration is $295 including meals, an evening social and bus transportation on Sept. 11. Attendance is being capped at 65 attendees; Truitt said registration has been strong but there were still a couple of slots remaining.