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Effective Safety Planning Part 5: Training for Employees, Supervisors and Managers

Posted on 23 February 2016 by cradmin

safetytraining_0Last month, we took a break from our six-part series on Effective Safety Planning to bring you news of the MSI+BSI safety initiative for 2016. Now, we continue the series with a followup to December’s article on Hazard Prevention and Control. Once you have established a culture of safety, created a four-point safety plan as recommended by OSHA, identified all workplace hazards and implemented prevention and control measures, it is time to train your supervisors, managers and employees.

Train From the Top Down

In Part One of this series, we talked about how important it was for a business to establish a culture of safety, and one of the essential factors in doing this is to get your entire team onboard. If your supervisors and managers are not interested in safety, how do you expect your employees to be? The same goes for training. Safety training starts at the top and works its way down.

Because so many situations warrant further training, such as new hires, promotions, new equipment and new environments, professional training from a third-party organization can get expensive. You will want to have your supervisors and managers fully trained on all aspects of health and safety so that employee training can be conducted in-house whenever necessary.

OSHA rules are very extensive and specific concerning safety training, and they can be found in the 270-page publication Training Requirements in OSHA Standards. However, you must be aware that even stricter standards may have been imposed by your state legislation or state OSHA.

In Oregon, our state OSHA does a great job of providing training consultations and additional materials and resources for small-to-mid-sized businesses, such as Safe and the Supervisor: An Introduction to Five Important Safety Responsibilities.

Training Overview

Remember, everyone who is on the work floor or at a job site must be thoroughly trained, this includes full-time employees, part-time employees, temps, supervisors, managers, contractors and yourself. Only those who have been properly trained and authorized to perform a job based on that training should be permitted to do it. Otherwise, you open your company to liability should an accident occur.

safety_training-NAHBEven if all employees have been trained, if one of them is observed performing a job poorly or in an unsafe manner, he or she may need additional training. To help you determine whether everyone understands their training, some companies hold emergency drills, but at the very least, supervisors and managers should periodically assess working conditions for new or unrecognized hazards.

At a bare minimum, everyone in the workplace should know all of the following:

  • Fire and emergency plans
  • Location and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • The types of chemicals and other foreign substances present
  • The precautions that must be taken when handling or working with dangerous materials

Health & Safety Training Programs

OSHA has recognized that health and safety training is most effective when it is incorporated into a company’s overall training program for general and specific job duties. The content of a program, however, will vary by the specific conditions and characteristics of the environment and the workforce. In addition, the most effective training programs follow these five principles of teaching and learning:

  1. Everyone should understand the purpose of the training.
  2. Information to be taught should be organized to ensure maximum effectiveness for those learning.
  3. Learning is accomplished most easily when skills and knowledge can be practiced and applied immediately.
  4. Feedback should be provided for each individual after practice runs.
  5. Several teaching methods should be incorporated to take into account that the most effective methods of learning are different for everyone.

BG1Once a training program has been developed, it should be evaluated to identify its strengths and weaknesses. This is often best achieved by having a safety professional from outside the company review it. This feedback can be essential in creating additional training programs or changing current training programs to accommodate for changing conditions.

Keep Written Records

When performing safety training, Oregon OSHA recommends the following six-step procedure, which ends with keeping sufficient documentation.

  1. Introduction – All learners are told what they are going to be trained to do and why. The importance of the training not only to the employee’s health but also to the success of company should be emphasized. Explain the consequences of not following safety procedures.
  1. Show and tell – The trainer explains the safety procedures to the trainees and follows up with demonstrations so that they develop familiarity.
  1. Ask and show – The trainee takes what was learned from step 2 and explains the procedure to the trainer. The trainer takes this opportunity to correct mistakes and provide clarification.
  1. Tell and show – The trainee shows the trainer that he or she can perform the safety procedures.
  1. Conclusion – The trainer recognizes the accomplishments of each trainee, re-emphasizing how important the training is, how it fits into overall work processes and makes each individual accountable for their future performance.
  1. Documentation – All training sessions should be formally documented, and all trainees should acknowledge they have been through and understand the training. A great way to do this is to issue certificates of completion that note the training subjects, date and location. It should be signed and dated by the trainee, the trainer and a work supervisor.

Final Thoughts on Hazard Training

You are not alone when it comes to hazard training. If you have questions, OSHA is willing to help. Most businesses can take advantage of free consultations directly from OSHA without fear of reprisal for current non-compliance issues. You can find additional help from insurance providers, corporate headquarters, local safety councils and industry associations, such as ISFA or MIA+BMI.

Be on the lookout for next month’s Health & Safety Watch where we will conclude our series with Effective Safety Planning Part 6: Safety Meetings.

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