How to Train Your Employees on Workplace Safety

The number of companies that put in the effort to train their workforce – for instance, on skills that meet the latest technological advances – is unfortunately very low. These days, employees are often expected to do the work on their own, whether that means taking a course outside of work hours, using open-source classes, reading trade publications to stay up-to-date or reading a tutorial off the clock.

On the other hand, safety training is not something to slash from your budget. A worker not following proper procedures, without appropriate protective equipment or unfamiliar with the latest machinery is a workers’ compensation claim waiting to happen. Thus, from the time you bring new employees on-board throughout their tenure with your company, it’s a good idea to make safety training an integral part of your culture.
In general, a workplace safety plan must:

  • Provide your workers with the tools to avoid on-the-job injuries.
  • Create a culture where safety and injury prevention come naturally.
  • Meet your legal and regulatory duties to protect staff and contractors from harm.
  • Touch on everyday practices, give your workforce the tools to identify and report hazards, and ultimately minimize incidents.
  • Not be a one-and-done event. When compliance changes, you get new equipment or your workers take on new roles, provide refresher courses and updates to keep everyone’s knowledge current.

In turn, safety training may help your business with:

  • Lowering insurance premiums and reducing workers’ compensation claims
  • Keeping your workforce more productive
  • Improving employee satisfaction
  • Reducing your liability, in the event of a lawsuit

While not all workplace safety training courses are the same and vary by industry and job duties, make sure yours touches on the following points.

  1. Identify Your Needs

The needs of your industry and company should be factored into your objectives. This could involve examining the risks associated with the latest technology, common industry hazards and past company incidents. Get input from your workforce about which dangers must be addressed.

  1. Take a Modular Approach

Not all workers have the same duties. Therefore, look for common areas within training, then think about each position’s hazards and safety issues.

  1. Train Your Full Workforce

Start from the top down: Train managers and supervisors first and have them monitor their teams. Also, should a safety incident occur or a potential hazard arise, have these mid-level workers be the point of contact for reporting.

  1. Have Clear Reporting Guidelines

Should something happen, your workers should know where to go, who to talk to and which forms to fill out. Make this procedure clear during training.

  1. Have Regular Testing

Do your workers know what to do, where to go and how to report? Do not assume a handful of courses is enough. Make a plan to regularly test your workforce on company safety protocols and use the results to update your training plan. At the same time, ensure your workforce can access training materials for review.

  1. Keep Everything In Order

If possible, arrange safety training around the order of steps workers use to complete a job or operate machinery. Don’t skip around and expect your workers to piece it all together. At the same time, if training involves a particular piece of equipment, make sure your courses involve some hands-on time, rather than by-the-book instruction with no real world application.

  1. Always Make Changes

Whether due to a recent incident, employee feedback or testing that shows a lack of knowledge across the board, don’t treat your safety curricula as uniform. Rather, routinely make adjustments and additions to keep your staff safe and informed. After you’ve made changes, update your full workforce with a meeting, company-wide message or new safety courses.

  1. Space Out Your Training

So your employees better absorb the knowledge, it’s recommended you space out training over multiple days. This way, your staff isn’t cramming knowledge, has more time to comprehend and digest the new information, and is more likely to be alert and engaged.
Fewer safety incidents and improved training may help lower your workers’ compensation rates. If you’ve made changes and would like to review or update your policy, give us a call at 203.439.2815.