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How Hydrite Chemical expanded OSHA safety training with hands-on walk-throughs

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Hydrite, a family-owned company established in 1929, is one of the largest independent providers of chemicals and related services in the United States. Their work includes manufacturing food-grade products, fertilizer, water treatment, liquid sulfites, and other specialty products.

67%

employee growth in 3.5 years

30

hours of OSHA training

2

Courses for different shifts

“I’ve been through some dry safety training, so I thought it’d be somebody going through the slides and reading the information to us. Bill has a really good personality, he made it fun, and talked to everyone in the room. If people had stories, he encouraged them, which made for a lot of participation. I’ve not seen that in other OSHA 30-hour classes”

— Katie Miller, Hydrite Senior Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

HIGHLIGHTS

Challenges
  • Small internal office tasked with managing employee safety.
  • Many engineers and team members are new or fresh out of school.
  • Multiple shifts and conflicting schedules makes a 30-hour course challenging to accommodate.
  • Dry course material.
Solutions
  • A single week of training offered across two courses.
  • On-site access to OSHA-certified trainers.
  • Compelling feedback sessions with more student involvement and customized training.
Results
  • A significant increase in the number of participants.
  • Huge time savings against competing courses offered elsewhere at local schools.
  • Dramatic improvement in student engagement and on-site analysis.

Challenges

Dry course material, difficult scheduling, and attendance risks over weeks-long courses

Hydrite Chemical’s Terre Haute, Indiana plant operates with about 60 employees, an increase of 67% in just three and a half years. Miller notes:

“When I started we had about 40 employees. And the office staff was about seven people. We didn’t have supervisors on site. Just 3 managers and everyone was trying to do it all. Now we’ve been able to hire more, and we have supervisors on all our shifts. We have a lot of new engineers and different people that are new to this environment—most of our engineers are just out of school.”

Hydrite’s work can be incredibly dangerous and involves substances not found in most industrial plants. Employee and product safety are critical to their mission and success.

“Some of our materials are food grade, and we utilize sulfur as the basis of all our products. So we have food-grade products we sell to various customers, and we manufacture fertilizer, which involves ammonia.”

OSHA 30-hour training, however, can be dry and time-consuming. By default, it requires nearly a full week for a full-time employee. Second-shift, part-time, and contract staff can struggle to find the time to consistently attend. 

“I wasn’t really keen on the way competing courses had their class setup because it was 12 sessions split up in 2-3 hour classes. People would have to drive there multiple times over multiple days. I’ve sat through other 30-hour trainings, and it’s hard to relate some of the material to real-world jobs and responsibilities, too.”

Compared to other weeks-long courses, VPC’s 30-hour course is price-comparable with others and can be completed with flexibility of the client, while still allowing some time for employees to handle vital daily responsibilities. 

VPC’s flexibility of scheduling the programs also equals fewer conflicts with vacation days and unexpected employee illnesses or PTO that might put them behind in their 30-hour requirements.

Outdoor drone photo of Hydrite Chemical in Terre Haute, Indiana
Hydrite Chemical plant, Terre Haute, Indiana

Solutions

Adapting to student needs, responsibilities, and schedules

Bill Wallace, Vantage Point Consulting’s Safety Branch Director, spent a week at Hydrite Chemical’s Terre Haute plant. Before the training began, Wallace personally toured the facility and made note of issues and successes worth covering in the 30-hour course. Miller says:

“I went through the first class. I thought this training was the most customized to our facility than any we’ve ever had. It was nice Bill came on-site beforehand to look at the facility so he could make the training more personal. And he did ask beforehand if there were certain things we needed more focus on because it applies more to our facility. And he did.”

Learning and adapting from the first class, changes were made to the second class held later to keep students focused on applicable, real-world situations.

“There were even some changes we made from the first class to the second class. We thought breaking up the day more and spending more time on the floor doing hands-on checklists and walk-throughs during the week might make it more engaging, rather than doing it all at the end. He was open to whatever changes we wanted to make”

VPC’s 30-hour OSHA training went beyond the class or conference room and into the facility, observing markings, paintings, signage, warning systems, and other issues that could result in an OSHA violation and, subsequently, steep fines. 

“We’re here all the time, and we can be kinda focused on the negative. [Bill] was very focused on the positive things we’ve done. Pointing out things he noticed, like marking your floors, painting them yellow, and eliminating trip hazards. It was nice to hear. He compared us against other facilities he’s been in. He even made friends with people in the office.”

Results

Memorable material, high marks, and checklists for future reference

Students were more engaged thanks to the trainer meeting their schedules instead of the other way around. Staff also found the material more applicable, interactive, and memorable:

“This is my third time through a 30-hour class, and I didn’t really have a lot of high expectations as far as the material being interesting or fun. I thought it’d be somebody going through the slides and reading the information to us and that would be it. Bill has a really good personality, he made it fun, talked to everyone in the room, and if people had stories he encouraged them. I felt like that made for a lot of participation. I’ve not seen that in other 30-hour classes.”

Management, engineers, and operators walked away with an OSHA 30-hour credential, customized to their work, items to fix or improve, and checklists to keep the plant operating safely:

“We did identify some things in our walk-throughs we immediately fixed—mostly signage that needed to be added in areas or small issues with fire extinguishers. Everything’s been fixed since our class. The other thing we continue to use is the checklists he provided. We’ve started using the checklist with our Safety Committee, and since we’ve already got that template he handed us, we’re using those to continually identify hazards.”

  • VPC provides on-site and in-person OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training throughout the year.
  • 10-hour courses are provided twice yearly for individual students, but companies and organizations with teams of any size can request training anytime. 

Like we did with Hydrite Chemical, courses will be tailored within the requirements of OSHA credentials to best fit your needs. Combined 10 and 30-hour courses are also available. 

Learn more and request an OSHA 10 or 30-hour course now →