We all know that safety training is extremely important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it keeps employees safe from performing dangerous and avoidable actions; it also drives down the number of accidents, illnesses, injuries or property damages.
In order to get the best results, it is important that we work on “effective” safety training rather than just flying by a safety course. We’ve listed the top 10 tips for effective safety training to help improve the results of your course:
1. Start by identifying the health hazards in the workplace
In order to make a safety course effective, you should know what hazards you are dealing with. This gives proper direction to your safety course and makes it more focused because in order to protect workers from safety hazards you need to identify them first. This can be easily done by performing a job hazard analysis. You can read more on the difference between a hazard and risk here.
2. Start work on controlling your work hazards
After identifying your health hazards, it is always better to eliminate safety hazards so that employees don’t come into contact with them in the first place, the second-best alternative is to control them. The hierarchy controls gives a solution for controlling hazards: Start with elimination. Next, try substitution. Then work on engineering controls. Fourth, attempt work practice controls. And lastly, try PPE.
3. Figure out and focus on your training objectives
In order to successfully gauge the result of your safety training course, it is best you devise a set of training objectives for cross reference. Not only will this guide your safety training, you will also be able to check if your workers truly benefited from the course.
4. Work according to the safety training regulations
Always know about the safety regulations that apply on your site. This is useful so that you know that you are following the law. Not only this, but it also provides a base line minimum or safety requirement standard that you must be fulfilling at all times.
5. Follow a safety method training
Even though you can come up with your own safety course, it is always better to follow a proven and effective safety methodology. An example would be ANSI Z490.1 which is the national standard for accepted EHS training practices. These methods generally provide a step by step solution for greater ease and efficiency.
6. Know the workers you are catering for
In order to get the best results, know what works for your workers the most. Do they like class room style lectures, field training or online courses. Do they enjoy working with written material or struggle with it and would much rather participate in a focus group talk. Also keep the level of their previous knowledge in mind so that the course serves them best.
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7. Work on active training
Don’t just sit there and let your workers simply listen to a lecture. Do something that reinforces these concepts afterwards such as an interactive question answer session, worker led presentations, immersive comments and critiques. Just get them actively involved.
8. Know your audience
The best way to get to your audience is to use the right language. Make it casual, simple and without any fluff – much like the way workers talk amongst themselves. This way your message will not get lost in over-the-top formalities. Also try using visuals to make the sessions even more effective.
9. Try the chunking method
Rather than dishing out all the information in a three hour long session, try breaking it down. Not only will the workers be able to absorb this better, their retention will also increase. Focus on one topic at a time so that you don not inundate your workers with excessive information.
10. Test your audience so see what they learnt
The only sure way to know that your workers understand what they have learnt is to test them. Be certain that they know the concepts and can translate them into actions before sending them out on the field. Testing will also allow you to identify improvement areas for each of your workers.
These are some of the best tips you can employ to ensure that your workers are getting the most out of your training course. Rather than wasting time, money, effort and showing less than average results, it is best that you incorporate these tips for a better experience.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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