Iron Mountain Health and Safety

Don Kleim, director of safety and wellness at lron Mountain, has always been passionate about the health and safety of lron Mountain's workforce. lron Mountain is the largest provider of information management services in the world, including records management, document imaging, risk management consulting, and records storage. lron Mountain is continuously growing to meet the needs of diverse data and companies; however, a large portion of its service remains in the safe and reliable storage of physical information, requiring physical labor to manage it.

As a result, despite Don's passion for health and safety, incidences continued to occur, putting the workforce in danger. It became clear to Don that in order to promote safe practices, he would need  to  envision  a new approach, starting with the individual people. To begin tackling this challenge, Don approached SDI  Consulting  because of our reputation in Learning and Talent Development to create a program around health and safety at Iron Mountain. The goal of the program would be to promote safe and effective procedures while also teaching compliance. Together, Iron Mountain and SDI would need to re-imagine a program to ensure that individual workers would be prepared for any safety issues they face.


We began conceptualizing the program by defining which individuals needed to be trained and on which topics. We knew that an overall program addressing all issues would ultimately be ineffective. People would tune out what didn't apply to them, and they would be less likely  to  retain the information that did pertain to them. Therefore, we would need to streamline the information the courses would deliver to ensure that we were delivering the right content to the right people.

We then started defining the source of health and safety issues. We collaborated with the senior director to determine where the biggest lack of understanding was and what the biggest risks were. Streamlining the content emerged as a unique challenge because Don was so passionate about all health and safety topics and presented SDl with several issues that the company wanted the courses to cover. From this content, we were able to narrow down deliverable knowledge to the smallest amount of consumable information, ensuring the highest amount of knowledge acquisition. We collaborated with the company to help them set priorities and learning objectives for the program which we would then divide into individual topics to become lessons.

With these topics in mind, we looked at the program from an audience perspective, creating a matrix that aligned topics and health and safety needs with different audiences within the organization. Ultimately, we determined that we needed to anchor the right people in the right content, which required a careful look at the needs of the company and the people. These needs considered, we were able to design a high- level curriculum that catered to individual learning needs and the needs of the business.


SDI understands that knowledge acquisition is most efficient when learners are engaged, so we needed to make the critical topic of health and safety interesting to users. We began designing a large curriculum using a blended learning approach, where learners acquire knowledge and then apply it. We developed 9 different eLearning courses based off the topics SDI and Iron Mountain prioritized, turning each course into an interesting story and dividing the story into  chapters  based on learning objectives. This helped make the training more consumable for the workforce, avoiding the challenges of more traditional training programs. Another way the program was designed to be more consumable  was by including knowledge checks at  the  end of each chapter that were not scored. This ensured that the user could learn at their own pace, and that the knowledge checks only verified any areas in need of improvement. A final exam tested user knowledge, ensuring retention and application of course content.

These courses also had an on-the-job aspect, which tailored the topics to the individual working experience. This created urgency and engaged users more fully while also ensuring that the knowledge was fully acquired and able to be implemented in a real-world experience. We also designed the program as a unique brand for the company, developing an entire look, feel, and function for the course. The courses needed to have a place in Iron Mountain’s set of tools and identifiable as important information by users the moment it was launched. Because Iron Mountain is a global corporation, SDI delivered the content to the company, who then implemented  it in their workforce. This provided the senior director with the assets he needed to enable a comprehensive company-wide change.


Through the implementation of the program, Don Kleim continued to monitor that the workforce was effectively engaged in the content and that the culture around safety was being created. In fields that require physical labor, the keys to effective health and safety programs are communication, training, and compliance. This seems simple on the surface, but they require more in-depth consideration: how will you communicate in a way that your workforce listens to? How will you train your workforce? How do you ensure compliance?

SDI and Iron Mountain’s partnership in their Health and Safety program answered these questions and more from a user-centered approach to make sure communication and training were not only clear, but engaging as well. Rather than merely handing over information, we made sure learners had a firm understanding of the information and the opportunity to apply it in real-world scenarios to better prepare for incidents on duty. During the program, users remarked on the clarity of the information, and almost all experienced a behavior-altering moment. In the months after the program, Iron Mountain saw a large drop in health and safety incidences. The Health and Safety programs were so successful that Iron Mountain approached SDI Consulting later to make additional courses within the same program, providing continued opportunities for safety and growth.