When your employees think of your company’s safety training program, what do they think? Are they ready to go when told they need to go to safety training class, or do they look for ways to get out of it? Do you even know? When was the last time a climate survey for safety and training was completed? Does anyone in the organization review end of training student feedback sheets? Does the safety trainer even use one? As we can see, there are many questions that can be asked when we talk about our safety training programs. So when we ask, is our safety training up to par? How would you respond to that question? Well, first, let’s talk a little about what makes up a good safety training program.
A good safety training program has many pieces to it, it’s just like those 1000 or 2000 piece puzzles I use to buy for my children when they were younger. It takes many pieces put into the right places to complete the picture. Has anyone inside your organization looked at all the pieces and turned them into a solid training program? Let’s look at the major parts of any safety training program. These parts are the same for whoever controls and or delivers any safety training for your organization, it does not matter if it is delivered by an in-house safety training dept. or if you use 3rd party safety training.
Major Pieces of the Safety Training Puzzle:
- Are all your training packages up-to-date with company, OSHA or other international safety standards? Safety standards and policies change over the years. Someone must ensure that the training is changed to reflect those changes. “Remember” OSHA has training requirements for all subparts of the 1910 and 1926 standards.
- Learning and development: Are your training packages designed with adult learning principles built into the packages. Adults require different approaches for their training. So have someone with a background or knowledge in adult learning and development involved with your training program. Have adult learning types and styles been addressed in the training? Some students are visual learners while other may be kinesthetic (Hands-on) learners while other may be more auditory or read-write learners. Most students with have a combination of learning types and styles. Our training must take into account of these types and styles.
- Is the training appropriate for the knowledge and skills levels of our employees? When was the last time a training needs analysis (TNA) was conducted? Or better yet, has one, a TNA ever been conducted? The TNA goes hand-in-hand with point 2.
- Learner outcomes: During our training, are we ensuring that all identified learner outcomes have been met? Verbal and written tests are a good way to ensure this. Are we conducting practical exercises within the training to ensure learners have absorbed the training? When and where we can, we need to add in practical sessions to our training. i.e. CSE (Confined Space Entry) do we use a practical CSE training station to conduct a mock entry? Manual handling, do we have students demonstrate proper one and two-man lifting techniques? Employees using grinders, are we having them to demonstrate how to change a disk, or how to properly adjust the guard? These and other practical scenarios help to ensure that our learners have met our learning outcomes.
- Trainers: Do our trainers just stand there and bore the students to death? Let’s face it, we all have attended some kind of training where that has happened. Did you get anything much from that training? Probably not. Trainers have to be dynamic, they have to engage their audience. Trainers have to see that their students are taking in and responding to their presentation? Have your trainers attended a TTT (Train-The-Trainer) course where they are taught proper presentation techniques? Do they understand the four learner types and 4 learning styles? If not, then how can they apply them in a class? If not, then we need to get them that training.
- ADDIE: One of the core elements of the ADDIE process is evaluation. ADDIE stands for analyze, design, development, implementation and evaluation. Learning and development professionals use these concepts when building their training packages. Evaluation can be used throughout the whole process of training and designing our training. Are we evaluating the training, the trainer and the learner outcomes? If not, then we need to start doing as soon as we can.
- Follow up: Is someone in your organization conducting post training follow up assessments? Are we checking to see that what employees learned in class is being applied in their work? If the answer is no, then we need to start doing this.
As we can see, we have talked about many of the pieces of the training puzzle, and there or other aspects of our safety training we have not even touched on. If start with these basic 7 steps, then we will be on the road to being able to answer our initial question, is your training up to the task, is it up to par?
How would you answer that question now and how will you answer that question in a few weeks from now?
Fleming, N. D. (July, 1995). I’m different; not dumb: Modes of presentation (VARK) in the tertiary classroom. Retrieved from http://www.vark-learn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/different_not_dumb.pdf
Instructional Design. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/addie.html
OSHA. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/
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