I Can’t Find My Records!

 In 2023, Tip of the Week

There’s an old saying that a job is not done until the paperwork has been completed. But what if you can’t access or find the paperwork? Did the job get done? Here’s a recent true story that highlights this potential problem.

Recently, an SCM client came to us with a time-critical problem. They were starting a new job the next day. The hiring contractor wanted to see the training records for the employees that would be working at the jobsite, and, in fact, would not allow our client’s employees on the jobsite without the training records. Some of the training records for job-specific training not done by SCM were stored in the database of an online contractor verification program. Because SCM had some experience with this online contractor verification program, they asked us to help them retrieve the training certifications. And then the online contractor verification program went down with some kind of issue. They were unreachable.

Many of us have moved our recordkeeping systems from hard copy paper-based to be electronically stored. We at SCM are no different. We use applications and systems for our recordkeeping. Take a class with us, whether in-person or online, and we can send you a pdf of your certificate. This takes up less space, is more efficient, and certainly is more economical.

Even OSHA has gone to electronic recordkeeping. One example of that is OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) where you can upload the data from your 300 A Summary log. They do not require to see the hard copy but can access your Injury and Illness Log information electronically. Another example is the many Safety Data Sheet (SDS) programs and applications offered online. Need information on a chemical? Access the information immediately from your phone or tablet.

But what happens when the system fails? Servers crash. Computers freeze. And you need to provide the records ASAP. Then what do you do?

Redundancy might one solution. If you had a certificate or even a roster of who attended a training class on a specific date, we recommend storing that in a folder on a server, or even a flash drive. If the certificate or training roster is a hard copy, you can file it, or scan it and save it. Yes, it is an extra step, but having a copy as proof of training can be helpful.

This can also be done with SDS, confined space permits, industrial hygiene (IH) study results, inspection records, respirator fit testing records, and just about any recordkeeping that is required to be kept by a regulation that you might think of.

In our story, above, there was a happy ending. The online contractor verification program fixed the issue and came back online within a few hours. We found the training records in question and got our client’s employees to work the next day.

You might have a similar story or have a recordkeeping solution that we have not discussed. We’d love to hear about it. Please share it with us, and we may use it in an upcoming safety tip.
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