Technician training records – Part 2

Technician training records – Part 2

Following up on a November 2018 blog entry, I find it necessary to circle back and review the importance of technician training records, as it seems to be easily overlooked and a commonly observed non-conformity during on-site assessments by assessors, so let’s get started.

Training for technicians may be one of the most important activities within the laboratory, and lack of proper training will affect the overall quality of tests results, variability, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Whether or not your laboratory is accredited, technician training is a must with training procedures in place, not only for new technicians coming on board but also for experienced and seasoned technicians to be sure they are following the most current test standards.

What does AASHTO R18 say?

Procedures within the AASHTO R18 Standard have two requirements: the first is found in section 5.5.1 and outlines the requirement that the laboratory must have a procedure and method in place to ensure technicians are trained properly, regardless of their level of experience.

Once a technician has been trained and competent to run all aspects of standard tests, they are then required to go through competency checks on a periodic basis with a frequency based on experience and competency as outlined in section 5.5.2. Past requirements were 12 months, however, this is now at the discretion of the laboratory procedure management.   

It’s also important to note that section 5.5.3 states that tests for competency checks are to be done by personally observing the technician perform the tests.

And then there’s record-keeping

The second requirement is proper record-keeping. Not all procedure requirements include a frequency requirement, but in the case of technician training records it is required. So how is this done within the R18LabQMS application?  

After logging in..

• Click the “evaluations” tab along the top.

• Choose “new technician evaluation” and follow the prompts. 

• Add each test in the appropriate category, add comments as needed and then the actual date the training/evaluation took place.

• Save new evaluation record for each test; by doing this you are creating the technician evaluation record for that period. 

• Also note: the tab on the right of technician evaluation records is the general notes tab where you can summarize any notable items that took place during the training/evaluation. You can also add supporting documentation by uploading files here. 

The only thing left is to complete the signature line, the date the training record was completed and the interval.

When the evaluation record is completed it can be viewed under the Evaluations tab, and the Quality Manual tab, section 5.5.4. 

You may include as many individual training records or categories of tests on a single record. If a technician has been trained on tests in 2 categories with a total of 20 tests, this would be included on a single training record. We have found that users are creating a single training record for each test – and then saving; this makes for a long process with multiple saved records for a 12 month period.

User questions…

Q: Is it possible to have on my Dashboard only the equipment procedures that I’m responsible for, as opposed to all past due and approaching deadlines?

A: No, not at this time. Currently, the weekly emails for equipment Cal/Check/Standard, and Maintenance Procedures are user-specific outlining past due, this week, next week. 3 weeks, 4 weeks and are managed in the manage lab tab/email notifications. This could be an upgrade under discussion in the future.

Resources and training opportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application:
User Guide
 R18 Blog
• WebEx – Additional training, please let us know
• Onsite Training – Fee-based, please inquire

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

Upcoming meetings

AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist)

March 22-25, 2020, San Diego, California (sponsor, on-site)

AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange

March 23-26, 2020 – Minneapolis, Minnesota (sponsor)

CONEXPO-CON/AGG  North America’s Largest Construction Trade Show

March 10-14, 2020 – Las Vegas, Nevada (on-site)

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

– Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager