Effective Safety Training Techniques
Two new employees, Bubba and Sally, need safety training. What do they need to know? What training techniques work best? What do we need to consider to provide the training? How do we know if the training was effective?
Let's analyze these questions by further asking:
--What do we consider in designing the training?
In this article we'll go over some of the steps to take before you begin designing your training program. Let's find out how to answer these questions and put together the best training program you can.
Designing the Training
Goals and Objectives: Do we need education or training, or both? We should use a team approach to design our training to obtain a variety of input and experiences. The team will conduct a walkthrough audit to determine deficiencies and needs. We'll also review OSHA's training requirements to meet regulatory specifications.
There are two basic reasons to provide safety training:
Level of Knowledge and Skill of the Participants: Let's determine the educational and experience background of our new employees. What is their length of service in our industry? Would this be brand new or retraining for them? We'll distribute a questionnaire or pretest prior to the training to get an idea of their skill and knowledge. Maybe we can even have them take a standard aptitude test.
Time Allotted: This can turn out to be critical. Do we spread out the training over several days or weeks, or cram it into a short period? Will management let them go for a sufficient time? What about the impact on the workers who must fill in for our trainees? Do we cover key points or add details? Also, the mind can comprehend only what the rear end will endure.
Training Facility and Equipment Available: Let's use a variety of audiovisual, show-and-tell, and hands-on aids. Can we get a quiet training room away from the distractions of production? Classroom style seating encourages formality, while U-shaped seating encourages discussion and participation. Will our training be all classroom or can we get our trainees out into the facility on a field trip?
Amount of Participation By the Attendees: Would our goal be to pump information into the trainees and see if they can they participate? How about some role play, exercises, demonstrations, and even having the participants handling some of the training duties? Let's give a post-test to make our trainees determine their own deficiencies, and tell us what more they need.
Types of Training
Now let's see if our training paid off and our planning was effective. We'll interview and observe new and transferred employees to determine if they are doing the job right. Let's check our documentation of the training and our training content. Using our OSHA Required Training checklist, we'll make sure we included all of the regulatory issues.
We'll give the new employees a critique sheet to get their opinions of our training. They are our best bet to help us improve. That will also tell us if our trainers are qualified. I'm going to join a trainers' professional group, attend their meetings, join in roundtables to discuss ideas, and read a professional training journal each month. You bet I'll stay informed. Bubba and Sally aren't going to be ill-prepared to do their jobs on my watch!