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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

Proper Training Is The Best Insurance You Can Buy

by Jeff Hopkins, on 10/4/18 8:45 AM

Look for a program that has instructors who have spent time in the field

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

- Aristotle                         

There's no margin for error in a modern refinery or factory. Worker safety must be the number one priority, and proper training is a key element in ensuring everyone makes it home safely. For this reason, refiners and manufacturers take training very seriously. They know that competency is just as important as any insurance policy when it comes to mitigating risk and ensuring the efficiency of operations.

But how can you spot a first-class training program? Look for these three elements:


Training takes your employees away from the task at hand, so make sure that the time investment will yield returns to your operation. Start with a certified training program, a qualified instructor and solid materials to teach your associates.

When looking into training programs, be sure to ask: Has the instructor spent significant time in the field? Has he or she seen firsthand what daily life for my employees is like? Look for instructors who have spent time working in the field alongside engineers, mechanics, technicians, maintenance superintendents, and operators. The instructor should have intimate knowledge of the daily challenges your employees face in order to provide them with useful tools that can be applied in real life—not just in a classroom.

Experience can help an instructor quickly earn the respect of your employees and keep them engaged. Great instructors will be able to offer relatable stories and anecdotes as well as engage learners in demonstrations and activities that can accelerate the knowledge that is taken back and applied throughout your operations.

 Learn about training and education offerings

Swagelok offers a variety of training seminars 

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We’ve all had teachers who stand in front of the room talking ad nauseam, citing references from textbooks and never taking any real time to engage with the class.  There’s no faster way to lose an audience.

The most effective training programs include a mix of theoretical, classroom-style learning and practical application. Hands-on training boosts retention and engagement.

Look for programs that dedicate at least 30 percent of course time to practical application and, depending on the subject matter, enable the instructor to spend one-on-one time with your employees.


Effective training is a continuous process. Your employees should walk away with materials, such as workbooks, tip sheets, and manuals that can be referred to in the field. They should also have the opportunity to continue their learning outside of the training room on their own time. Great training programs can be augmented by shorter online learning courses on very specific topics that will help them be safer and more efficient on the job.

Instructors and training facilitators should also be available after the initial training to provide a touch point for employees seeking further information or support. Often, questions arise around site energy loss and emissions, as well as hose and safety inspections. A real-world engineer who lives and breathes what they teach can be a constant resource.

Sampling Systems Book Cover_SM

Industrial Sampling Systems, the definitive reference guide by expert Tony Waters (book excerpt)

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Questions to ask

Here's a quick checklist for evaluating a training course.

  • Is the course offered by an organization with expertise in the subject matter and a reputation for quality and training?
  • Does the instructor have field experience?
  • Has the instructor received extensive facilitator training from an accredited organization or reputable supplier?
  • Does the instructor have skills to teach employees at various skill levels and with various learning styles?
  • Does the instructor have the technical aptitude to work with engineers and other skilled workers?
  • Does the course include a mix of theoretical and practical training techniques?
  • What tools will be provided for ongoing learning and reference at the end of the course?
  • Can the organization customize a program at my location based on our particular needs?
  • Can the organization provide testimonials and references from past training participants?

Ultimately, proper training and education provide consistency to your operations. Quality content and expert instruction can help employees work safer and smarter around the clock, saving time and reducing costs.

We have a free PDF of training classes available through Swagelok Northern California. Call us at 510-933-6200 or contact us through our website to schedule a session.

Grab Sampling Systems App Guide MS-02-479-1 

Swagelok Grab Sampling Systems Application Guide (Catalog)

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Your fluid systems can't fail—and they can't leak. That's why Swagelok Northern California offers mission critical solutions for the petrochem, semi, power, and oil and gas industries around the Bay Area and into NW Nevada. We manufacture and assemble reliable, customizable components that get the job done. Contact our team today to learn about custom solutions for your plant or refinery.

Swagelok Northern California
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3393 W Warren Ave
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