10 Workplace Safety Training Tips
Have you ever walked into work one morning and noticed something that might cause an accident? Maybe it is an icy sidewalk, or a spill on the floor. The phrase, “An accident waiting to happen,” comes to your mind as you sidestep the problems.
Workplace safety cannot exist on best practice guidelines and policies alone. A safe working environment is based on how well the organization communicates safety standards.
Each person who leaves his or her home for work in the morning should come back at night in good health. Have you ever imagined that your loved one will never be returning home? Or you get a call that they are in the hospital due to a work related incident?
Workplace safety is not just about accidents. It encompasses a variety of areas affecting the health and safety of employees, customers and vendors.
According to the Business Dictionary, workplace safety is:
The policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of employees within the workplace. It involves hazard identification and control according to government standards, and ongoing safety training and education for employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. This law created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to employers and workers.
Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing safe working environments for their employees. This includes physical as well as psychological safety. Basically, employees should expect to work for an organization free from danger and where the employer ensures the workplace remains safe.
Employers are obligated to provide a safe working environment for their workers. Regardless of the type of work they perform, whether it is pouring concrete to repair roads or filing expense reports in the accounting department, employees should never be in a position where their physical safety is in jeopardy.
What are the components of a safe work environment?
- Storing toxic substances properly
- Requiring spills be mopped up immediately
- Not stacking boxes or other items too high
- Providing protective clothing for employees as needed
- Holding training classes on a regular basis, especially when dealing with risky equipment and substances
- Reporting hazards immediately to supervisors
- Ensuring employees are not overworked, stressed or tired, which can lead to ignoring safety regulations
Keep in mind most safety issues focus on physical safety. In today’s workplace, it also includes psychological safety. What that means is employees feel they can trust their employer and their ideas will not be discounted, ridiculed or even receive punitive feedback for speaking out. When employers include workers in meetings and ask for input on how to make the environment safer and more productive, it provides a sense of psychological safety.
Sometimes, safety training is offered but does not hit the mark. How can you develop an effective safety training program that does what it’s supposed to and results in lower rates of illness, injury, accidents or property damage?
Here are 10 tips every employer should know to help inform employees and create a workplace safety environment based on shared responsibility:
- Identify and Control Your Hazards
Start by performing a Job Hazard Analysis using a team of people to examine hazards for each job. Then, use the hierarchy of controls model to eliminate, substitute, isolate, change or require personal protective equipment to deal with the hazard
2. Know The Safety Training Regulations
Regulatory agencies like OSHA set the standards and compliance is required by law. Safety training is most effective when it is developed using a systematic approach that encompasses program management, content development, training delivery, evaluation and documentation.
3. Follow A Proven Method For Delivering Safety Training
Such as Z490.1. This method provides step-by-step training and is the accepted national standard. The standard provides guidance on how to manage overall safety training programs, as well as criteria for developing training that incorporates adult learning principles. Learn how to deliver training effectively, evaluate the outcomes and application of training on the job and document the training to maintain compliance with company policies and regulatory mandates. Safety training is an essential element of any effective OSH program.
Employers should provide frequent training to ensure that employees have the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to work safely. It is important to identify and avoid hazards while continuously improving performance. The most effective training follows a systematic approach that incorporates adult learning principles, multiple modes of learning and hands-on exercises.
4. Identify What You Want Employees To Learn
And put into practice as a result of the training. Good communication about goals goes both ways. Just as it’s the manager’s responsibility to communicate organizational goals clearly, it’s also the boss’s obligation to listen to employee’s personal goals and, where they align with the overall mission, support them and help build the skills necessary to achieve those shared goals.
5. Know Your Employees
And their preferred learning styles and tailor your training accordingly. To do their jobs effectively, leaders must prioritize the people on their team. After all, a company’s staff is its greatest asset, and managers should know as much as possible about each person and how they contribute to the overall success of the business.
6. Be Prepared
For the “What’s in it for me?” reactions. Do not just read safety regulations to them and expect them to get it. Stress the importance of their safety and how your training relates directly to how they do their jobs. Keep it focused on their work, not other issues.
7. Design Training Using Active Learning Principles
Instead of a classroom setting with a lecture, get interactive by letting workers share their thoughts and ideas, lead some of the sessions themselves, and perform hands-on demonstrations. Stress active participation. As the individual engages positively by actively participating is area of their life, such as in personal care, the scope for abuse by others is reduced. Decreasing vulnerability. As individuals gain in their self-confidence and self-esteem they are less prone to exploitation and harm from others.
8. Treat Your Employees As Adults
And use the right kind of language that reflects your audience. Stop telling employees what to do and how to do it. Instead, give them the freedom to get their work done. Who is more likely to know the job? The operator or the supervisor. The operator knows the potential of the job, so as a supervisor set the goals and they will figure out how to reach them.
9. Use Visuals
Or professional training videos from a Learning Management System for greater impact and learning retention. The easiest and most cost-effective way to get your online learning program up and running is with KnowledgeCity’s LMS. We have designed our platform to be user-friendly, with powerful tools that give you full control of the user learning experience. And the best part? Your learning program can be up and running in a few easy steps!
10. Organize Your Training
Into “chunks”— small bits of information at a time. Then, make sure to test your employees on what they have learned before you give them the green light to go out and work.
The best training sessions can always be better, so make sure you incorporate an evaluation to determine how effective your training was. Obtain your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from before and after the training to compare data. Observe workers after the training to see if you got the results you intended. Last, but not least, make sure you provide refresher courses customized to each job. You’ll be glad you did.
Ready to start your workplace safety training? The KnowledgeCity Learning Library offers more than 13,000 online video courses. Each course features interactive exercises that can be easily customized to include your company’s information. See for yourself how our online safety training can help simplify your training initiatives.