Training is necessary to ensure that your employees know what they need to know to do their jobs effectively, and safety training should play an essential role in every operation. Knowledge gaps in this area can result in injuries, or worse. Furthermore, employees may miss things simply because the classes didn’t receive their full attention, they didn’t understand the content, or they weren’t told everything they needed to know. This is why you need to constantly pay attention to safety training, and make sure that it’s up to date. Here are 4 tips for improving workplace safety training.
Understand Your Priorities – and Theirs
Your safety program should focus on your safety priorities. The primary goal should be to prevent the most serious and most likely injuries your employees may face, then work your way down.
Examine the workplace conditions and the processes your team follows, then tie the safety training to the tasks they do every day so that they understand the importance. Explain how these safety measures protect them from common on-the-job injuries. Also, make sure that you hold periodic refresher training courses so that you keep this information fresh in their minds.
Periodically Reassess Your Training
Another thing you should do is perform a training needs analysis. Continuous training and development are essential if you want to keep the floor safe and stay compliant.
What do your employees need to know before they start their job or work in a given area? How does that compare to your current safety training? When you identify gaps, have everyone take the training to fill in these gaps as well as making new employees take the revised training program when they start.
Don’t forget about temporary employee safety either. Know what training they need to have to safely work in your workplace, and require them to complete the necessary safety training modules before they enter the shop floor.
Review your safety training as you change processes or install new equipment. Your staff need to understand how new machine guards work, for example. Furthermore, you should change your standard operating procedures to reflect new safety procedures. This is part of task analysis.
Track Safety Metrics
Have safety metrics or key performance indicators that allow you to gauge the effectiveness of your safety training program. Track that metric for people before and after the training program so that you can verify the training is making a difference. If it isn’t, you probably need to make changes.
It may be that the material you’re teaching is best taught in one-on-one training instead of in a classroom setting, or that video-based training is better for conveying the message than written materials. Sometimes the gap is due to language barriers. Do you need to provide safety training in their native language?
Are you seeing similar injuries in the workplace? Determine the root cause, and hold training to fill in this obvious gap in your safety training. Then modify your safety training program to cover the topic.
Have Clear Learning Objectives for Employee Training Programs
Corporate training may seek to teach employees a skill, alter behavior, or teach them proper procedures. Compare the objectives for training programs with your safety goals.
For example, you may want to change the process for certifying someone to operate a forklift to include proof they can operate it safely instead of simply being able to handle a load, or you may require them to take written tests to prove that they have learned the material.
Good safety training programs drive incident rates down. However, there is always room for improvement, and they need to be continually adjusted and refined to remain effective.