Conducting regular safety training is a very important approach to reducing workplace accidents and injuries, and should be a core aspect of every organization’s safety management program.
The idea of safety training is to educate employees about the most optimal practice of performing their work so they can perform more safe actions at work to reduce (or completely eliminate) unsafe actions, accidents, injuries, and work-related fatalities. Effective safety training can also prevent property damage and even reduce near-misses in the workplace.
However, effective and efficient safety training can be very difficult to implement. It requires proper planning with the right preparation and execution, and you won’t be able to do them without having the right know-how.
With that being said, here we will share 8 actionable tips you can use to make your safety training more effective, and let us begin right away.1. Identify Your Hazards
The first, and arguably the most important thing you should do in planning a safety training program is to identify all potential safety hazards in the workplace.
We can do this by performing a comprehensive risk assessment or safety audit, the most basic approach is to have someone (or a team of people) manually observe the work area and look for hazards associated with various jobs in this workplace. However, we can also use various safety audit and management tools to execute the risk assessment faster.
In fact, risk assessment at least basic hazards and might be a legal requirement in your area, which we will discuss below.
2. Understand Safety Regulations In Your Area
Check the safety requirements, especially those related to safety training that will apply to your workplace. If you are in the US, then you should check OSHA’s website. Do your research as states like California have specific standards, which exceed the federal ones and will require specific Cal OSHA training. If you are in the mining industry you can check out MSHA’s requirements.
One of the key objectives of your safety training program is to stay in compliance with these regulations, but studying these safety training regulations can also help you identify the benchmark for your safety training program to measure its performance.
3. Define Response Plan for Each Hazard
Now that you’ve identified the potential hazards in your workplace and the regulations that may apply, the next step is to identify how we are going to eliminate or at least reduce these hazards.
In general, for all hazards, you should consider:
- Eliminating the work/activity that may cause the hazard when possible
- Substitute the work/activity with a safer alternative when elimination is not possible
- Implementing engineering controls to improve safety
- Implementing work practice controls when engineering controls aren’t possible
- Assigning PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for employees when alternatives 1 to 4 aren’t possible. This should always be the last resort.
4. Leverage The Right Technology
You can’t deny the importance of technology in this day and age, and safety training is no exception.
Humans, after all, can only remember and manage very limited information at any one time, so having a centralized platform where employees can easily access and review safety training materials is a must.
Advanced health safety management software can allow safety managers to effortlessly manage and monitor your safety training and safety management program with the safety training tracking features including:
- Instantly see employee safety training records
- Intuitively assign training, reminders, and due dates
- Utilize approval requirement for specific critical training
- Tracks time spent by employees on each training module
- Store your training materials, available on-demand for all your authenticated employees
- Automatic reminders for training expirations
5. Understand Your Employees
You also need to consider the specific needs of your employees when planning your safety training program. The better you understand your employees, the higher the chance they will get more from the training and actually improve your workplace’s safety.
You might want to conduct surveys and/or interviews with your existing employees. For example, figure out whether they (at least, most of them) would prefer training in the field or in a classroom. You can also ask them about which medium they would prefer (i.e. videos or text-based classes).
The more details you can gather from your employees, the more effective your training would be.
6.Incorporate Active Learning In Your Safety Training
People are more likely to “get” more from the safety training when they are actively learning and using what they’ve learned rather than passively listening to a lecture. Incorporate active learning methods like Q&A interactive sessions, experience sharing, hands-on training classes, and even ask them to lead the training sessions (i.e. present a topic to the whole class).
7. Use Images and Videos
Most of us humans are visual creatures: most of the information we ‘learn’ comes from our eyes. So, incorporating your training modules with high-quality visuals like photos, infographics, videos, and even real-life objects can significantly help in making your safety training more effective and efficient.
Combine pictures and words in your safety training modules to further improve their effectiveness by triggering both our brains’ processing centers for pictures and words.
8. Identify How You Will Evaluate Training Effectiveness
To ensure your safety training program is effective, you’ll need to first know whether it’s effective or not in the first place. Create a system to evaluate the results of your training and your organization’s safety as a whole. For example, check your near-miss numbers and total incidents whether they’ve improved from before you’ve implemented the training program.
Assign KPIs to your safety program, and compare metrics from before and after training is held to measure the effectiveness of your training, and make adjustments accordingly.