OSMA Partners With NSC on New Training for Expected Cost Savings

OSMA Partners With NSC on New Training for Expected Cost Savings

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Explosives Warning Sign

The Office of Safety and Mission’s (OSMA) Explosives and Pyrotechnics Safety program recently released new online SATERN training, “Basic Explosive Safety Refresher,” to the agency.

Previously, ordnance handlers at NASA had to take “Basics Explosive Safety Training,” an instructor-led course, every three years, per NASA-STD-8719.12A, Safety Standard for Explosives, Propellants, and Pyrotechnics. Now, three years after taking “Basics Explosive Safety Training,” handlers can take the online refresher course instead, acquiring an additional three years before taking the instructor-led course again. (An amendment to NASA-STD-8719.12 to reflect this change is forthcoming; however, anyone currently due for the instructor-led course that has taken the “Basic Explosives Safety Training” within the past three years may take the refresher training at this time.)

“By offering a refresher course, we’re extending the amount of time between in-person training sessions,” explained Sandy Hudson, Explosives and Pyrotechnics Safety program executive. “In-person, courses are needed because we’re dealing with energetic explosives material and high-risk operations, so it’s important to have that face-to-face time to ensure everyone fully understands the requirements. However, we felt we could comfortably, and safely, extend the time between these trainings as long as explosives handlers had something to refresh and reinforce the information.”

“I did a detail with the NASA Safety Center [NSC] a few years ago and immediately realized we could work with them to develop some online training to the benefit of our program,” said Mike Hallock. Explosives Safety Officer (ESO) at White Sands Test Facility. “I’m estimating it shouldn’t take experienced handlers more than two hours to take this refresher.  That’s a six-hour delta of time saved [from the instructor-led course] for over 350 handlers, which results in a cost savings over a three-year period. It adds up.”

Hudson; Hallock; and Marc Humphris, pyrotechnics officer at White Sands with Jacobs Technology Inc., coordinated with the NSC to turn the existing instructor-led course material into online content.

“It’s basically a boiled-down focus of the initial course, but there is some new information,” said Humphris.

The NSC assisted with narrations and graphics and put together a polished beta course for the Explosives and Pyrotechnics Safety Working Group to review during its annual face-to-face meeting.

 “All ESOs and several Pyrotechnic Working Group [PWG] members participated in finalizing the beta version, live, right there [at the face-to-face],” said Hallock. “It’s a product by the ESOs for our agency’s explosives community.”

The ESO/PWG feedback was used to refine and finalize the course. The final refresher course provides basic Explosives Safety training for personnel involved in handling, storing, transporting and processing explosives, energetic liquids and pyrotechnics; it is not intended to teach specific operations. It’s intended for personnel who were previously certified as NASA ordnance handlers and are currently performing in that capacity.

To ensure those required to take the training receive the necessary information, the team designed the course to ensure it couldn’t just be flipped through — a common drawback of online training. The course includes questions throughout each module and requires an 80% on the final exam to pass.

“We set the course up purposely to go through in sequence,” explained Hallock. “You can’t just skip to the exam.”

“Basic Explosive Safety Refresher” can be found in SATERN using course code SMA-HQ-WBT-221. Questions about the course can be directed to Hudson.