Safety Education

It’s All in the Training: How Education Can Make or Break Your Safety Plan

Changing your company’s health and safety regulations often leads to improvements in other areas. The morale of your employees and the quality of their work are likely to increase, whereas on-the-job injuries, accidents and long-term health are likely to decrease.

Though all companies should have a health and safety plan in place, those that specialize in manual labor, warehouse work or other environments dealing with extremes (such as height) are required by law to have one.

While OSHA states that a safety plan is required, they won’t create it for you. That’s something that needs to be specific to each company and the hazards that apply. Though it can be time-consuming, creating these safety standards, fall protection plans, rescue strategies and other guidelines are well worth the investment. And you’ll see the return on investment in the form of better job performance and employee satisfaction.

When companies are creating safety plans, there is a crucial step that will make your break the success of the plan: employee training.

Meet Your Workers On Their Level  

How you train your workers will make all the difference. For many jobs, you can’t simply hand an employee a description of what to do and expect him or her to uphold all the safety regulations perfectly.

When it comes to employee training, you must take the time to ensure each worker completely understands how to correctly perform all aspects of the job. This includes being fully knowledgeable of the appropriate safety equipment, clothing to wear, and what to do if an accident occurs.

Easier said than done, right? When it comes to communication and learning, everyone has a different style in which they communicate and grasp concepts. So, how do you effectively get all the points of your safety plan across to ensure a safe working environment? Below are tactics to use in your training so your employees have a better understanding of the proper way to apply safety guidelines.

1. Give Clear Directions

Communication is key. If you use the wrong type of language, your audience will miss the point. Teachers, public speakers and marketing companies all know the importance of targeting their audience with the right vocabulary, visual aids and learning methods. And some of these practices can be borrowed and applied here.

If you’re addressing a room full of scientists or engineers, they might benefit from in-depth descriptions and words that are specific to their field. They might also be able to read the regulations and instantly comprehend what’s needed of them.

However, if you’re not speaking to engineers, but instead workers who are hands-on in their jobs, you need a different approach. It would be more beneficial to use everyday language, give demonstrations, show videos or images, and use other interactive ways to train them in the proper safety guidelines. 

When you cater the training to the style of learning of your workers, the information has a better chance of sticking, and the safety plan, a better chance of being successful. Keep in mind that you might have to address different departments in different ways. If you train everyone in the same manner or only in a manner that makes sense to you, then it won’t be as effective.

2. Keep in Mind Employee Habits

When it comes to creating a safety plan and initiating training, you need to consider the culture of the employees. Become the eyes and ears of the job site and take notice of workers’ interactions with each other and how they perform their daily duties.

Do they take shortcuts? Do others help a worker when he/she is falling behind? Are they careless with tools and machinery, or do they take extra measures to handle them carefully? All of these insights will show you a way to address the new safety training.

3. Ensure Full Comprehension

While some employees may learn from reading, and others learn from verbal instruction, it is important to ensure that each worker is fully knowledgeable of their specific duties and the right safety measures that apply to them.

During the session, ask questions and give clear directions, and don’t get frustrated if you have to repeat the information or find new ways to present it. When you take the time to listen to workers’ needs, answer questions and clear up any confusion, the information is better absorbed, making the training a success. Following up with reminders, presentation notes or summaries, and employee feedback will also help make sure the information has been soaked in.