Would you like to improve your workplace safety training? Does complacency creep in?
It’s one thing to talk about workplace safety and how everyone needs to do their part. But it’s another thing entirely when it comes to ensuring all employees are adequately trained with the skills and knowledge to assess their environment and go about their work in a safe manner.
After all the workplace training you do, your staff need to have the right ATTITUDE to complete the tasks in a safe manner and the desire to stay safe all the time, keeping their mind on the job.
I know the effect of a complacent attitude. I would have been the guy sitting in the back of the toolbox talk, thinking it was all a waste of time. I don’t believe that anymore. If my Attitude had been different, I wouldn’t be giving talks around the country on the importance of how it keeps you safe!
With a good attitude and the correct training your employees should:
- Know how to do the job (without taking shortcuts)
- What the key steps in the process are
- What dangers they face throughout the activity, machinery, or process
- How to avoid these dangers and keep others safe as well
Proper OSHA training is not just about knowledge, but also about application. That is, to actively do what is required of them on a daily basis.
The benefit of having properly trained workers is a noticeable reduction in the number of injuries and deaths, property damage, legal liability, illnesses, workers’ compensation claims, and missed time from work.
An effective workplace safety training program also helps to build a safety culture where employees help promote proper safety in the workplace.
Good workplace safety training will include these 7 steps:
1. Determine Whether Training Is Required
The first thing to do is ask whether training will solve the problem at hand. Training is an effective solution to problems such as a person’s lack of understanding, unfamiliarity with equipment, or incorrect execution of a task. If problems are being caused by a person’s lack of attention, or lack of motivation training is less likely to be effective in fixing the problem.
Also there are times where the situation cannot be corrected through the use of training. Other methods, such as the establishment of engineering controls, may be needed to ensure everyone’s safety.
2. Identify Workplace Safety Training Needs
Once you’ve established the need for training it is necessary to figure out exactly what knowledge needs to be covered (and in what depth) in order to keep workers safe while doing their job.
A risk assessment should be conducted with every employee so that it is understood what they need to do their job safely and what hazards are associated with the job.
A safety trainer may also observe the worker in his/her environment to properly assess the worker’s training needs. Certain employees may need extra training due to the hazards associated with their particular job. These employees should be trained not only on how to perform their job safely but also on how to operate within a hazardous environment.
3. Identify Safety Training Goals and Objectives
After the needs have been identified, you must set learning goals and objectives. These should be clear and measurable, allowing for the training to be evaluated for effectiveness later on.
You want to deliver the objectives using action oriented words like: the employee… “will be able to demonstrate” or “will know when to”… which will help those being trained understand what they should know by the end of the training or what information to assimilate during the class.
Having learning objectives that are specific and detailed allows both employees and the employer to know the expected outcome of any training.
4. Develop Learning Activities for Workplace Safety Training
You need to develop learning activities to support the training goals and objectives. Ideally these activities will include ways for the trainees to show the skills and knowledge they are learning throughout the training. Applying the activities to the worker’s actual job and their job process is extremely beneficial.
Consider which methods, material, and resources will get the message, and objectives, across most effectively. You should also keep in mind the type of training – whether group or one-to-one, etc, making sure it is relevant to the employees and the specific skill set you are training.
It is a good idea to use instructional aids such as charts, manuals, PowerPoint presentations, and films, along with role-playing, live demonstrations, and round-table group discussions to stimulate employee participation.
5. Conduct the Workplace Safety Training
At this point you want to implement the training. Present your training in a clear organised manner. Ensure you provide an overview and relate the training to the employee’s experience.
Ensure you use relative employee training resources to get your message across.
You should show the employees why the material is important and relevant to their jobs, as they are more likely to pay attention and apply what they’ve learned if they know the benefits of the training.
It is helpful to allow employees to get involved and to practice their newly learned skills along the way. This helps to keep them interested, motivated and engaged. Engaging in discussion and hands-on practice also helps employees to retain new information.Try to reinforce the training by summarising the program’s key points and objectives.
6. Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Workplace Training
Once training is concluded, it is vital to evaluate its effectiveness in achieving defined goals and objectives.
There are four ways to conduct an evaluation:
- Ask the trainees for feedback via questionnaire or informal discussions. This will provide a quick review of initial value and learning outcomes.
- Follow up with supervisors and their observations about employee behavior before and after the training. This shows whether the training had a noticeable outcome.
- Use practical and written exams. These also help to evaluate understanding of training material. For example, for a forklift operator, both a written test and a practical exam would identify areas of training that may need to be revisited. To go a step further, using a pre-test and post-test will establish a knowledge base line or reference point to measure training effectiveness.
- Evaluate workplace data to examine if long term there is a trend toward reduced incident or near miss rates. This will be the bottom-line indicator of a training program’s success rate.
7. Improve Your workplace Safety Program
Use the training program feedback to evaluate your training and for ways to improve things in the future. By revisiting all the steps in the job, and the training you’ve used, you will be in a position to effectively determine whether any gaps exist in your training program.
Some points to consider are:
- The method chosen; to determine if there is a better way to conduct the training.
- The presentation of training materials; to determine if it was effective for the audience chosen.
- The key concepts and skills that were highlighted. If there was a gap, it may be beneficial to review the Risk Assessment to identify any missing components or any new steps added to the process since the training was developed.
- Revise training as improvements are identified.
We are available as as Additional Employee Training Resource to come speak to your workers to reinforce your safety training program and reiterate the importance of OH&S and how having the right Attitude to training will save lives, prevent injuries and make for a safer workforce.
We also provide safety posters as a reminder of our message and they can be purchased by contacting us.
Helping you reach ‘zero harm’
“Because Safety Matters”