Reacquaint Your Workforce on Heat-Exposure Hazards This Summer

As the summer months begin to approach, it is a good time to reacquaint your workforce with the dangers of heat exposure.  Many do not realize the variety of jobs exposing employees to potentially dangerous heat environments, occurring in both indoor and outdoor settings.  Told by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illness.” Every year thousands of workers are affected by heat exposure, some even die, yet these illnesses are preventable if workers are aware of symptoms and treatment.

OSHA’s website offers a full section dedicated to Occupational Heat Exposure.  The expansive page covers heat-related illnesses and first-aid, prevention, industry-specific resources, and OSHA standards.  It also includes the many factors that put workers at greater risk of heat-related illness.  These risks include environmental risks such as; high temperature and humidity, radiant heat sources, contact with hot objects, direct sun exposure (with no shade), and limited air movement (no breeze, wind or ventilation).  Risks are also caused by job-specific functions including physical exertion and use of bulky or non-breathable protective clothing and equipment.

Educating your workforce on preventative measures to avoid heat-related illnesses, as well as the signs and treatment of it, helps decrease the risks of serious illness.  Assigning training on this topic can be the first defense against heat exposure dangers. Mastery recently updated four courses to the VOD3 platform pertaining to heat-stress involving various work environments.  These courses depict real-life scenarios where heat exposures lead to hazardous conditions – with life and death consequences.  They demonstrate the importance of recognizing symptoms and responding properly to avoid serious injuries caused by heat-related illnesses.

Course titles include:

These courses, available on our mobile-friendly VOD3 format, are compatible for any mobile device, operating system, and browser.  This mobility capability makes training more effective and efficient, allowing employees to take assigned training at their convenience while on the job (maybe when taking a break from the sun!).

Visit for more information.

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Over 90 Updated and New Courses Released This Month!

This month we released over 90 updated and new courses. Around 80 Video On Demand courses were updated to the VOD3 player, allowing learners to take training on any desktop computer, tablet or smart phone. Learners can access the same course on all their devices and complete training based on when and where it is convenient for their schedule.

This month’s titles include:

Stored Energy: The Hidden Hazard
Forklift: Operating Forklifts Safely [Update]
Personal Protective Equipment: PPE: From Head to Toe [Update]
Safety Program Management: Modules 1 – 5 [Update]
Slips, Trips, and Falls: Healthcare [Update]
Slips Trips and Falls: Hotels [Update]
Slips Trips and Falls: Retail [Update]
Slips Trips and Falls: Restaurants [Update]
Driving: Crash Course: Vehicle Incident Reporting [Update]
Orientation: Employee Safety Orientation: Offices [Update]
Fire: Hot Work Permits [Update]
Food Handling: Dishwasher Safety [Update]
Food Handling: Sanitation in the Food Industry [Update]
Air Monitoring: Contamination Assessment Part 1 [Update]
Air Monitoring: Direct Reading Instruments Part 2 [Update]
Benzene,Toluene & Xylene [Update]
Chlorine [Update]
Hazmat/WMD Awareness [Update]
Hospital First Receiver 1: Recognizing Contaminated Patients [Update]
Hospital First Receiver 3: Self Protection [Update]
Hazmat/WMD Self Protection for Law Enforcement [Update]
Hazmat/WMD Self Protection for Firefighters [Update]
Hazardous Waste [Update]
ICS: The Incident Command System [Update]
Introduction to Hazardous Chemicals [Update]
Inorganic Oxidizers [Update]
Pesticides [Update]
Back Safety: PowerLift: Lifting Training That Works [Update]
All-Terrain Vehicles: Safe Operation & Use of All-Terrain Vehicles [Update]
HAZWOPER: Haz Matters – First Response [Update]
Driving: MPG Max: 25 Tips for Better Fuel Economy [Update]
Spills: Non-Emergency HazMat Spill Response [Update]
Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC): Oil & Water Do Not Mix [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Basic Program [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Complete Program [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Landscaping & Grounds Maintenance [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Municipal Facility Maintenance [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Parking Lots, Streets & Storm Drain System Cleaning [Update]
Stormwater: MS4s Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Working Over or Near Surface Waters [Update]
Stormwater Pollution Prevention: A Drop in the Bucket [Update]
Storm Warnings: Storm Water Pollution Prevention [Update]
Backs: Back Safety [Update]
Bloodborne Pathogens: Commercial & Light Industrial Facilities [Update]
Bloodborne Pathogens: First Responders [Update]
Bloodborne Pathogens: Healthcare Facilities [Update]
Bloodborne Pathogens: Heavy Industry [Update]
Bloodborne Pathogens Refresher [Update]
Overhead: Crane Safety [Update]
Conflict Resolution in Industrial Facilities [Update]
Conflict Resolution in the Office [Update]
Safety Audits [Update]
Confined Space: Confined Space Entry Refresher [Update]
Computer Safety: Computer Workstation Safety [Update]
Substance Abuse: Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers and Supervisors [Update]
Eyes: Eye Safety in Construction Environments [Update]
Eyes: Eye Safety [Update]
First Aid in Construction Environments [Update]
Fire: Using Fire Extinguishers [Update]
Fire: Fire Prevention in the Office [Update]
Falls: Fall Protection in Construction Environments [Update]
Forklift: Powered Industrial Truck Safety [Update]
Forklift: Powered Industrial Truck Safety Refresher [Update]
Tuberculosis In the First Responder Environment [Update]
Tuberculosis In the Healthcare Environment [Update]
Tuberculosis In the Institutional Environment [Update]
Machine Guard Safety [Update]
Hearing; Hearing Conservation and Safety Refresher [Update]
Hearing: Hearing Conservation and Safety [Update]
First Aid: Workplace First Aid [Update]
Slips, Trips, and Falls in Construction Environments [Update]
Driving: Driving Safety [Update]
HAZWOPER: Fire Prevention [Update]
HAZWOPER: Heat Stress [Update]
HAZWOPER: Understanding Chemical Hazards [Update]
Electricity: Electrical Safety: Step Back for Safety [Update]
Winter Safety [Update]
Personal Protective Equipment: Stepback for Safety [Update]
Selling Skills from A to Z: 26 Skills to Improve Telesales and Customer Service [Update]
Orientation: Safety Housekeeping & Accident Prevention [Update]
Safety Awareness II Real Accidents Real Stories [Update]
Fire: Fire Prevention in Healthcare Facilities [Update]
Indoor Air Quality [Update]
OSHA Lead Standards [Update]
Laboratory Safety: Electrical Safety in the Laboratory [Update]
Laboratory Safety: Planning for Laboratory Emergencies [Update]
Heat Stress in Construction Environments [Update]
DOT: HAZMAT: In-Depth HAZMAT Security Training [Spanish Update]
DOT: HAZMAT: Safety Training [Spanish Update]
DOT: HAZMAT: Security Awareness [Spanish Update]
DOT: HAZMAT: General Awareness [Spanish Update]
Hazmat Operations 4: Organizing the Response [Update]

The following are new Partner and Advantage courses:
Maritime: Crew Endurance Management
Maritime: HAZCOM for Tank Barge Operations
Food Handling: Safe Food Handling in the Kitchen and Galley
Move It Safely: Avoiding Injury While Handling Materials

Check out to check out our entire catalog!

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Storm Water Runoff Pollution… How Does it Affect You?

As we are in the midst of a rainy spring (at least in Michigan), it is only fitting to bring up the topic, of stormwater runoff pollution.   You may assume this topic does not pertain to you, though in fact, it pertains to everyone.  As told by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground.  The runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal waters.”  Shockingly, the EPA found 40% of all lakes and streams are too polluted to use for fishing or swimming in the United States, a main culprit to this pollution; stormwater runoff.   Now do you believe it pertains to you?

There are many activities causing stormwater pollution, these include; lawn care, septic systems, auto care, pet waste, residential landscaping, commercial areas, construction sites, automotive facilities, agriculture, and improperly managing lodging operations.  The EPA supplies a helpful handout on preventative steps you can take for stormwater runoff pollution:

  1. Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks, and gutters
  2. Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
  3. Vegetate bare spots in your yard
  4. Compost your yard waste
  5. Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems
  6. Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider a rain garden to capture runoff
  7. Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
  8. Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil
  9. Pick up after your pet
  10. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly

Municipality employees have the greatest leadership opportunity to demonstrate stormwater runoff pollution prevention, specifically, municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) employees. Because of the variety of job functions MS4 employees hold directly related to runoff areas, they are able to lead the way in in pollution prevention.  Spills, leaks, and drips are the largest causes of stormwater pollution from municipal facilities.  With the potential harm that storm water runoff pollution holds, it is vital every employee is trained on prevention techniques and procedures.

This time of year serves as perfect opportunity to assign refresher courses while ensuring each employee is properly trained on these prevention practices.  Mastery recently updated eight courses designed to help with delivering proper training:

All of these titles are now available on the VOD3 platform, which allows learners to seamlessly take training on any desktop, tablet or smart phone. Visit for more information. 

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If You’re Going to Talk the Talk, You Better Walk the Walk When it Comes to Training

No matter what industry you work in, training is imperative in maintaining a cohesive, motivating, creative, productive, and safe environment.  An organization which understands the importance of proper training is one that works with integrity and commitment, and is shown through the products it produces.

In a recent article, Pal’s Sudden Service, a drive-thru restaurant chain based in Kingsport, Tennessee, was highlighted for its impeccable training program.  Its training demonstrates the restaurant’s commitment to employee development at the core of its culture.  Training at Pal’s covers everything from proper care of the uniform, to doing statistical process control.  To ensure employees comprehend training, each worker gets certified, by passing with an 100 percent,  in skills such as; cooking hamburgers, working the shake machine, and serving customers with an emphasis on customer service.

Perhaps the most notable belief engraved in Pal’s core values is CEO, Thomas Crosby’s vision that, “We want the experience here to be that, for your entire life, when you’re a doctor or a chemical engineer, you’ll look back and say, ‘The things I learned at Pal’s I still apply today’.”  An organization can have all the procedures and standards set in, but if your people don’t have the motivation to work with integrity and enthusiasm then what good do you have?

According to Ken Schiller, CEO of K&N Management which owns two restaurant chains in Texas, whenever Crosby is questioned “What if you spend all this money on training and then they leave?” he counteracts with, “suppose we don’t and then they stay?”  Honing in on training and follow-up ensures employees that you actually care about their well-being at work.  Especially as a leader, this exhibits your commitments to the organization which in turn inspires employees to hold the same passion you do – revert to the old, if you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk, concept.

By instilling and demonstrating the company’s mission and values, employees will take pride in their work as well as care for the workers around them.  Having this type of environment easily promotes a safe and efficient workplace.

Here at Mastery, we love hearing stories of companies who see the true value in training, and make it a core component in their company culture. The example with Pal demonstrates how training can have a major impact on employee performance and morale.

Mastery recently released three updated course titles to help reignite safety protocols in your restaurant.  The courses also remind us that even if you have all the rules, protocols, and training in place, the decision to work safely and with integrity lies within the person. These titles are now available on the Video On Demand format that allows learners to seamlessly access a course from any device.

Updated courses:

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Restaurants

Food Handling: Dishwasher Safety

Food Handling: Sanitation in the Food Industry

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How to Overcome Unproductive Meetings

For many, making their workplace more productive and efficient is a great concern. Many businesses are dealing with less staff charged with more responsibilities, along with the looming pressure from upper management.  While fighting these battles, many organizations continue to partake in the necessary, but often time-wasting, practice of meetings.

While meetings are often called for valid reasons, they frequently halt productivity, and oftentimes, by the time a meeting is over the objective of it remains unclear.  If the majority of meetings are wasting time, it translates to money wasted because of the loss of productivity.  Meetings are necessary to hold, though without leading and handling the meeting from start to finish, money and time will continue to be wasted.

Recently, two articles discussed the importance of holding more productive meetings. Though each stressed the same underlying components (have clear goals and an objective) to holding these meetings, they each also recommended different advice to apply to different types of meetings.

In the Forbes article, “Four Tips to Make Corporate Meetings More Productive,” we are given four tips to make those tedious corporate meetings more effective.  Vick Vaishnavi’s tips include:

  1. Stop criticizing – knit-picking and critiquing ideas will weaken creativity and may stop team members from sharing ideas
  2. Take a stand – standing up when giving a presentation helps create more energy in the room and helps to cut down the length of the meeting
  3. Musical chairs – when employees return from a break, have them sit in a new spot. It helps increase alertness by taking the employees out of their comfort zones
  4. Brain food – don’t supply unhealthy foods, like pop and donuts, they usually cause sluggishness.  Opt for foods that are healthy and protein-packed

The other article from, “3 Tips for More Productive Meetings,” offers advice from a different angle – as an attendee of the meeting.  No one likes when their precious time is wasted, and as Craig Wortmann points out, you should bring three things to every meeting to combat this; your “purpose, benefit, check,” two clear goals for the meeting, and an “ask.”

Along with the traditional meeting, another type of meeting, that is becoming increasingly more common, is the virtual meeting.  Though these meetings may seem more productive, they too carry their own glitches.  Mastery’s course, “Virtual Meetings: The Invisible Meeting,” supplies important rules to follow for managing many challenges associated with virtual meetings.  It demonstrates how to overcome common challenges such as coordination, distractions, surprise guests, missed body language, misunderstanding, and isolation.

Regardless if you are a leader or an attendee of a meeting, wasting time out of your busy day is not conducive to being productive. Use these tips and advice to impact the success and energy in your workplace, before, during and after a meeting.

How do you keep your meetings concise and consistent?

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Do You Communicate with Dialogue?

Even though we communicate on a daily basis, we aren’t always as successful as you may think. When difficult communication situations arise, we need to remember to not get carried away with frustration, but learn to focus on the goal of listening to each other and gaining understanding.

There are many options of ways to communicate; negotiation, conversation, discussion, deliberation, debate, presentation, and dialogue.  For many communication issues, a good way to help work through an issue is to use dialogue.  The purpose of dialogue is to build understanding, trust, and respect.  Through courses recently released by Mastery, we are taught six basic rules for effective dialogue:

  1. Suspend judgment
  2. Suspend decision-making
  3. Suspend status differences
  4. Listen for understanding – show you care
  5. Look for common ground
  6. Uncover hidden assumptions

Often times we don’t think how we’re going to communicate, we just naturally do it, and sometimes the outcomes are not what we meant for them to be.  The new course titles from Quality Media Resources (QMR) help to distinguish types of situations where, though it may be difficult, dialogue helps to alleviate the issues and communication barriers.  These titles include:

How do you overcome communication barriers in your organization?


Visit for more information.

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How Are You Going to be a Good Leader?

Often times, we get placed in a leadership position and are eager to begin with newly inherited motivation and energy.  Usually, a delayed response sets in when we gather our thoughts and begin to think how am I really going to do this position well?

When you are in a management or leadership position, there are many times where you’ll have to make difficult or executive decisions.  In these types of situations it is important to think about your employees, and recognize how your actions affect your team’s outcome.  Figuring out who your employees are and what drives them helps you motivate and better coach them.

Personal experiences can help you to make decisions for your team, your past experience and knowledge is what made you a great candidate for the leadership position in the first place, but training will also help to better hone in on skills you may be lacking as well as strengthen ones you already utilize.

Mastery recently released two leadership and management courses from content partner, Quality Media Resources (QMR), that are designed to get leaders thinking in out-of-the-box ways to become more influential and encouraging for their team.

The new course titles, “A Manager’s Guide to Surviving the Slings and Arrows (Legal & Behavioral Challenges of Management),” and “To Lead or Not to Lead: A Manager’s Guide to Communication and Leadership Skills,” explore topics commonly encountered as a leader, along with tips to overcome them.  These courses use real actors to portray scenarios in which the situations occur to demonstrate how the advice can be used successfully.  They also have input on each topic from real professionals in the industry.

There is no way to avoid the slings and arrows that happen when you’re in a leadership position, but there are effective ways to overcome them and further improve your skills and better your team. Use for even more courses related to management and leadership guidance.

Do you have any advice on how you effectively coach and motivate your team?

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New Leadership Training and More This April!

This month we released 8 new titles, originally produced by Quality Media Resources, covering topics such as leadership, management, ethics, and communication. We also updated another 21 courses to our award-winning VOD3 platform.

The new titles include:

Updated titles now available on our mobile-friendly VOD3 platform include:

This month we also released several new Partner courses, originally produced by Moxie Media

Maritime: Man Overboard Prevention for the Inland Waterways!
Maritime: MRSA & Staph Prevention for Maritime Industry
Maritime: HAZCOM for Workboat Operations


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Mastery Brings Home Not Just One DiSciTech Award, but Two!

This spring Mastery was chosen as a recipient of a Corp! Magazine DiSciTech Award.  As a winner in the digital category, our VOD3 platform was recognized for making advances in mobile technology within the e-learning industry.  As the first in the industry to achieve creating a mobile-friendly (suitable for any mobile device, laptop, or desktop) VOD format, we stay ahead of the crowd in mobile e-learning, and not just by a minuscule number, but by offering hundreds of compatible courses.

Our iPad display counter, a new addition to our trade show products.

Our iPad display counter, allowing us to let people access a VOD on an iPad

Corp! Magazine believes Michigan companies are leading the way in innovation focused on digital, scientific, and technological pursuits. To recognize these cutting-edge organizations, Corp! initiated the awards to recognize companies that demonstrate the drive for innovation by pushing the boundaries of science, technology, and the digital world.  The event began with a networking hour, where we were able to show-off our new trade booth products from local Detroit company, Display Group. We then got to hear from; Jennifer Kluge, publisher at Corp! who welcomed us, keynote speaker Phil Bertolini, Chief Information Officer and Deputy County Executive for Oakland County, and finally,  Matt Roush, ‎Director of Communications and Public Relations at the Engineering Society of Detroit, who was emcee for the awards presentation.

Our President, Bill, Matt Roush, and our Publishing Coordinator, Lindsay

Mastery’s President, Bill Marker, Matt Roush, and Mastery’s Publishing Coordinator, Lindsay Marker

From over a hundred nominations, 47 honorees were awarded between two categories; digital, and science and technology.  For both categories, overall winners were chosen.  We knew, heading to the awards breakfast we would be accepting our DiSciTech Award in the digital category.   What we weren’t prepared for was winning the overall honoree title for the digital category!   We are extremely honored to be recognized for overcoming the many challenges the e-learning industry faces when developing mobile capabilities.

Taking home the overall digital honoree!

Lindsay, Meaghan, Rachel, and Bill... taking home the overall digital honoree!

Lindsay,PR Specialist Meaghan, Communication Coordinator Rachel, and Bill, taking home the overall digital honoree!

One of Bertolini’s points in his keynote described the increasing movement of mobile and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in the workplace.  As he stated, mobile is here to stay and “growing faster than we could have ever imagined… for a modern workplace we need to embrace BYOD.”  This mentality is one Mastery has fully embraced in our organization.  It validates our beliefs and proves our VOD3 platform, as well as the employee mobile device plan in place at our organization, is preparing, embracing, and preserving our workplace culture as early adopters of technology.

Thank you, again, to Corp! Magazine for this honor, and congratulations to all of the 2014 DiSciTech winners!

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How to Avoid Making Unethical Decisions

What do you do when faced with a tough ethical decision?  At times when not a single option clearly seems right, how do you know which choice is best?  At work, situations may arise where you feel an action taking place is not ethically right for the workplace.  These situations leave you in a position where you must choose how to handle it, and the choice you feel is right, may hurt coworkers involved in the unethical incident.

Pressures from colleagues, customers, suppliers, managers, family members, and ourselves, creates the ability for us to rationalize excuses for making wrong choices.  These rationalizations are apparent when we start using phrases such as; “everyone does it,” “they deserve it,” “they owe me,” or “no one will ever know.”

What it really comes down to when making the right ethical decision is, do we hold the power to make the right decision even if that choice has negative consequences?  Having this power depends on the strength and belief you have in personal, as well as your organization’s, core values.  Believing in core values predicts how you will interact with customers, vendors, and other employees.

Creating an organization with value-based culture helps lower the chances of these types of difficult conversations and situations from occurring.  For example; if one of an organization’s core values is respect, and the culture is dedicated to respect, it will be prevalent in the work being produced, along with the way employees interact.  In return, creating and maintaining a respectful work environment.

Helping to guide employees and employers through ethical decision-making dilemmas, Mastery’s newly released courses from content partner QMR, explore what core values are commonly established at an organization, what to ask yourself before making a difficult decision, and familiar ethical situations that ensue in the workplace.

These courses, “Compliance is Just the Beginning: Ethical Situations to Consider,” and “Compliance is Just the Beginning: 3 Steps to Ethical Decisions,” depict real-life scenarios  learners can easily relate to.  Questions are asked related to the ethical scenario, allowing the learner to ponder on the answer, and then hear from professionals in various industries give correct answers or guidance.

Unfortunately, one bad ethical decision can have huge consequences.  There will be many times when the right choice will not be the easiest.  Understanding how making one bad decision can negatively affect your entire life, from family to career, is crucial in making right, ethical decisions.

Check out all of Mastery’s training available on Ethics.

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