The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has developed a new interactive learning simulation to address the issue of safety training of staff with convenience and service station retailers.
AACS received funding under the WorkCover Assist Grants Program to develop the simulation in November 2009 and partnered with simulation and software development experts SimSkill Pty Ltd to deliver the innovative program.
Research conducted earlier this year by AACS, which involved extensive surveying of small and medium sized retailers, identified safety as a key training issue for the sector. There was an estimated 800 dangerous goods incidents at NSW forecourt based convenience stores in 2008 and of these 81 were related to fire, 405 related to LPG leaks and 315 were fuel spills.
AACS Executive Director Sheryle Moon said the e-learning program provides the most effective response to the numerous challenges involved in training operators in safety procedures.
“Differing OH&S standards in each state and frequently updated requirements has resulted in a lack of relevant material available for training small operators. Add to this the difficulties in ensuring staff availability for off-site training, the high staff turnover rate in the industry, the fact that English is frequently a second language to operators and the need for a custom-built program with the scope to address these issues is obvious,” Ms Moon said.
“Aside from helping to reduce incidents and ensure safer workplaces for staff and customers, this new program overcomes these challenges and creates a platform to which future OH&S requirements and legislative changes can be easily embedded and communicated.
“The cost of training programs has also been an issue in the past for small to medium operators. The advantage of this custom-built program is its ease of accessibility to all operators through a simple and free online portal,” she said.
“Providing for the training and development needs of our members is obviously a high priority for the Australian Association of Convenience Stores.
“After the program has been rolled out in NSW and we anticipate expanding the successful platform into other states over the next 12 to 24 months.” Ms Moon said.