There is a strong commercial, educational and outreach opportunity for industrial gas distributors in running training for customers around the safe handling and storage of compressed gases.
That was the message from Abydee Moore, President and CEO of Butler Gas, the packaged gases specialist based in Pittsburgh, who presented at the first day of the PurityPlus Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
Butler Gas uses Compressed Gas Association (CGA) resources as the starting point for its safety training, said Moore. The CGA’s growing library of training modules, found on its website, includes the TM-1 unit on the safe handling and storage of compressed gases. Moore said that the e-learning modules can be used by engaged individuals for online training, but she said Butler Gas had found that there was clear value to its customers in running training sessions on the topic as laid out by the CGA.
“We offer a two-hour course and a one-hour course. The two-hour courses offer a combination of classroom and practical on-site activities and generally these are the ones that customers book,” said Moore. “These courses matter because we are expert in gas safety, customers expect us to be expert, and it is a chance to support safety protocols, share knowhow and drive engagement with safety as widely as possible. There is always value in as many individuals as possible knowing the safety protocols as well as possible.”
Butler Gas sells its training sessions, so it can also offer that benefit to distributor businesses – it bolsters relationships with customers, can be billable and it should improve safety outcomes.
“We use the TM-1 module from the CGA. There are are ten modules in all at the moment and new ones are added from time to time,” said Moore. “We train our employees on the same thing internally, so there is only a little extra work involved in being ready to support customers. You have to think about how to run the session, about providing good examples that lend themselves to engagement and discussion, and you also need to identify the teaching talent within your team – some individuals just have a flair for running training sessions in a dynamic way. You don’t want to just click through the slides but to add some real value along the way and make it engaging.”
One issue that Moore did highlight as important to any distributor considering offering safety training is to conduct due diligence on the target customer to understand its safety protocols.
“You want to avoid teaching any elements that are not relevant. For example, you might have a customer that does not permit cylinders to be rolled by its workers and so there is no need to cover that in the training session,” said Moore.
“You also need to understand a little about the range of experience in the room in any training session: you will likely have some with many years of experience in handling cylinders sitting alongside those with no experience. It is often a broad church and you want to include everyone and to pitch things just right.”
Butler Gas offers certification for those that attend its sessions, giving customer business and also the individual a training record.
Moore emphasised that the CGA’s safety posters are freely available to support safety training, but she noted that even CGA member companies cannot reproduce the CGA’s copyright publications.
“The customer has to buy them to distribute them: they cannot be copied and shared,” she said.