Course 121 Introduction to Safety Training

What is Safety Education?

The Wrong Way vs. The Right Way - DuPont

Education: The term "educate" originates from the Latin, Ed-u-cer-e (ey-doo-ker-ey), which means "that which leads out of ignorance." Education is anything that brings us out of ignorance and helps to improve our knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs).

John F. Rekes, PE, CIH, CSP, says it well: "Education is a process through which learners gain new understanding, acquire new skills, and/or change their attitudes."

Education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on an individual’s mind, character, or physical ability. In its technical sense, education is how by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another. (Wikipedia)

Training: Rekes goes on to describe training as "a more specialized form of education that focuses on developing or improving skills. While training incorporates educational theories, principles and practices, its focus is on performance. The goal of training is for learners to be able to do something new or better than before."

Is Your Training Program Effective? Occupational Hazards, August 1999

The outcome: The educational process can be quite complex and learning usually takes place on many levels. An educational program can be successful even if the learners can't do anything new or different at the end of the program. On the other hand, a training is not successful unless the student can demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities (SKAs) necessary to do something.

Read the material in each section to find the correct answers to each of the questions. After answering all questions, click the "Check Quiz Answers" button to see your score and a list of missed questions. To correct a question, return to the question, review the material, change your answer, and return to the last section page. Click the "Check Quiz Answers" again to recheck the results.

Do not use the browser's "Back" arrow or "Refresh" button to navigate course section pages. Use the black tabs (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.) to review/change missed questions.

Note: Videos and exercises in our courses are for information only and not required to view. Final exam questions will not be derived from the videos. OSHAcademy is not responsible for video content.

1. What is the basic goal of training?

a. To do something new or better than before
b. To learn something new or different than before
c. To cause new thoughts and feelings as we learn
d. To open our eyes to new ideas and principles

Safety Education

Safety education informs, persuades, and motivates students to be involved and work safely. The most important goal of safety education is to show why working safely is essential.

Why do you think most employees don't do what they are supposed to do in the workplace? It's because they don't know why it's important to do it! Consequently, the most important thing we can do as safety trainers is to make sure our students know why working safely is important.

The KSA Education Process

The primary goal of education is to increase knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs).

What is the process we can use to make sure employees can most effectively educate to improve safety performance? We call it the KSA Education Process. It involves three basic strategies to educate employees to gain knowledge, increase their skills, and improve abilities: instruction, training, and experience.

  1. Instruction transfers Knowledge: This is where the educational process begins. We must know something before we can do something.
  2. Training provides initial Skills: Once we know something, we can focus on learning how to do something.
  3. Experience over time improves Abilities: Learners gain experience outside the classroom, where the "real education" occurs. Only with experience will we improve our overall performance.

2. Safety instruction transfers _____, safety training improves _____, and safety experience improves _____.

a. skills, knowledge, abilities
b. knowledge, skills, abilities
c. abilities, skills, knowledge
d. abilities, knowledge, skills

Safety Instruction

rf123 Photo 31334071_s
Instruction increases safety knowledge.

General safety instruction is usually conducted as a course or meeting in the classroom, workfloor, or around the tailgate. Instruction may also be given through written notices, newsletters, or videos. Instruction may be quite effective when presenting required and "nice to know" information. Click on the button to see a list of typical topics that safety instruction may cover.

  • Employee safety orientation;
  • The steps in a root cause analysis;
  • Introduction to the elements of our safety management system;
  • Process safety management principles;
  • Employee Assistance Program management; and
  • Engineering control basics.

Documenting Safety Instruction

To document instruction, you usually only need an attendance roster. That's because students may not have to prove they've learned anything. If students have to demonstrate they've learned something, then an effective way to do that is with a written test because it formally documents proficiency. Remember, as far as OSHA is concerned, "If it isn't in writing, it didn't get done." This is another reason why it's important to purchase OSHAcademy certificates, cards, and transcripts.

Also, the only evaluation of training required for safety instruction is the student reaction survey. The survey gives trainers feedback about what learners thought about the training topic, the presentation, trainer qualifications, and how strongly the felt the training met their expectations.

3. Which of the following topics can be effectively taught with only safety instruction?

a. How to use a table saw
b. How to use personal fall protection
c. How to install lockout/tagout devices
d. Understand the importance of working safety
OSHA Photo
Hands-on-how-to safety training

Safety Training

Safety training differs from safety instruction because it focuses on improving "how-to" skills through practice. It takes what the student has learned during instruction and provides an opportunity, through practice, for the student to apply that knowledge.

An important consideration when developing safety instruction and training is determining if OSHA requires a "demonstration" of adequate employee knowledge and skills as part of the training.

Technical "hands-on-how-to" safety training that teaches employees how to do hazardous tasks and procedures is the most common type of safety education. The training may be quite specific and usually requires some form of student hands-on participation or practice.

Remember, even though a particular OSHA Standard does not specifically state or require that employees "demonstrate" proficiency, best practices in safety education may require that you include formal testing, hands-on practice, and a performance demonstration in a training session. Ensure you include hands-on practice and demonstration whenever employees may be injured on a job or if they have a deficiency in KSAs.

Click on the link to see a comprehensive list of OSHA training requirements.

4. What is the most common type of technical OSHA safety training?

a. videos and slide presentations
b. group exercises and discussion
c. hands-on-how-to training
d. classroom lecture with written exams

Examples: Technical Training Topics

To make sure students have adequate KSAs, include a skills demonstration.

Most OSHA training is technical by nature because it teaches employees how to do things. For instance, when reading about the training employers are required to provide regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) in 29 CFR 1910.132, we see that employers must cover the following topics:

  • when PPE is necessary;
  • what PPE is necessary;
  • how to put on, remove, adjust, and wear PPE;
  • the limitations of PPE; and
  • care, maintenance, and disposal of PPE.

OSHA prefers written exams to test student knowledge of the topic. More importantly, because there is a "how-to" requirement above, the training should include a skills demonstration to ensure each student can use the PPE properly. Click on the button to see more examples of hands-on technical safety training.

  • how to use respirators;
  • how to remove a machine guard;
  • permit-required confined space entry procedures;
  • emergency evacuation procedures; or
  • lockout-tagout procedures.

5. To make sure employees have the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform a task, make sure hands-on-how-to training includes _____.

a. a question and answer period
b. at least 1 hour of instruction
c. a skills demonstration
d. a review of the topic
Copyright ASSE/ANSI Photo
ASSE/ANSI Z490.1. Get your copy.

ASSE/ANSI Z490.1 Criteria

This consensus standard establishes criteria for safety, health, and environmental training programs. Criteria includes program development, delivery, evaluation and program management.

ANSI 490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training, details criteria for a safety training program. Click on the button to see a list of the minimum criteria.

  • development piece, including needs assessment, learning objectives, course content and format, resource materials, and criteria for course completion
  • delivery by competent trainers in a suitable training environment
  • evaluation in a continuous improvement system
  • documentation and recordkeeping
  • a plan describing how the various training elements will be accomplished

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements

The following information was adapted from 29 CFR 1910.120 Appendix E, Training Curriculum Guidelines - (Non-mandatory). Although written specifically for training hazardous waste operations, the core criteria may serve as an excellent template for your safety training program's design. In the next few sections, we will discuss the ten core criteria.

1. Training facility: The training facility should have sufficient resources available, equipment, and site locations to perform didactic and hands-on training when appropriate. Training facilities should have sufficient organization, support staff, and services to conduct training in each of the courses offered.

2. Training Director: Each training program should be under the direction of a training director responsible for the program. The Training Director should have a minimum of two years of employee education experience.

6. Which document, originally developed for hazardous waste operations, may serve as an excellent template for developing your safety training program?

a. ANSI/ASSP 490.1
b. OSHA 1910.120, Appendix E
c. NFPA 1703.2
d. OSHA Publication 5584

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

Include all OSHA 1910.120, App A Core Elements into your safety training plan.

3. Instructors: Instructors should be deemed competent based on:

  1. previous documented experience in their area of instruction,
  2. successful completion of a "train-the-trainer" program specific to the topics they will teach, and
  3. an evaluation of instructional competence by the Training Director.

4. Course materials: The Training Director should approve all course materials to be used by the training provider. Course materials should be reviewed and updated at least annually. Materials and equipment should be in good working order and maintained properly. All written and audio-visual materials in the training curriculum should be peer reviewed by technically competent outside reviewers or by a standing advisory committee.

Reviewers should possess expertise in the following disciplines where applicable: occupational health, industrial hygiene and safety, chemical/environmental engineering, employee education, or emergency response. One or more of the peer reviewers should be an employee experienced in the work activities directed in the training.

5. The program for accepting students should include:

  • receive assurance that the student is or will be involved in work where exposures are likely and that the student possesses the skills necessary to perform the work; and
  • provide a policy on the required medical clearance.

6. Ratios: Student-instructor ratios should not exceed 30 students per instructor. Hands-on activity requiring the use of personal protective equipment, testing equipment, or hazardous procedures should have instructor ratios of 5-10 students per instructor.

7. What should the trainer-student ratio be for hands-on safety training?

a. 1:30
b. 1:5-10
c. 1:1
d. 1:15

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

rf123 photo 31009668_s
Individual, not group, proficiency assessments should be conducted.

7. Proficiency assessment: Proficiency should be evaluated and documented using a written assessment and a skill demonstration selected and developed by the Training Director and training staff. The assessment and demonstration should evaluate the knowledge and individual skills developed in the course of training. It's important to understand that "individual," not "group" testing should be accomplished. Asking the "group" questions and receiving answers from one or more group members, is not acceptable.

The level of minimum achievement necessary for proficiency should be specified in writing by the Training Director as follows:

  • If a written test is used, there should be a minimum of 20-30 questions. Each student should answer all questions and a minimum test score of 70% should be required.
  • If a skills demonstration is used, the Training Director should fully document the tasks chosen and the means to rate successful completion.

The content of the written test or skill demonstration must be relevant to the objectives of the course. The written test and skill demonstration should be updated to reflect changes in the curriculum, and the Training Director should review and approve any updates.

Regardless of the approach or combination of approaches used, the Training Director should justify, document, and approve the proficiency assessment methods. The proficiency of those taking the additional courses for supervisors should be evaluated and documented by using proficiency assessment methods accepted by the Training Director. These proficiency assessment methods must reflect the additional responsibilities borne of supervisory personnel in hazardous waste operations or emergency response.

8. What are the two primary methods for measuring student proficiency in safety training?

a. Skills demonstration and written test
b. Practice and open-book exam
c. Group testing and question/answer session
d. Written/Oral exams composed of essay questions

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

Certificates are important permanent records of your achievement.

8. Course certificate: Each student who satisfactorily completes the training course should be provided with documentation. Certificates and cards provide a permanent record of your training achievements and should be kept in the employee's possession.

The documentation should include:

  • student name;
  • course title;
  • course completion date;
  • statement that the student has successfully completed the course;
  • name and address of the training provider;
  • an individual identification number for the certificate; and
  • list of personal protective equipment authorized for use (if required).

This documentation may include a certificate and an appropriate wallet-sized card of the above information. When such course certificate cards are used, the training certificate's individual identification number should be shown on the card.

9. Why are safety training certificates and cards important?

a. They prove you have skills and abilities
b. They look good and are suitable for at least a year
c. They provide a permanent record of achievement
d. They protect you against legal prosecution

OSHA's Suggested Training Plan Core Elements (Continued)

9. Recordkeeping: Training providers should maintain records listing the dates courses were presented, the names of the individual course attendees, the names of those students successfully completing each course, and the number of training certificates issued to each successful student. These records should be:

  • maintained for a minimum of five years after the date an individual participated in a training program offered by the training provider, and
  • available and provided upon the student's request or as mandated by law.

10. Program quality control: The Training Director should conduct or direct an annual written audit of the training program.

  • The Training Provider should document, approve, and implement any program modifications to address deficiencies.
  • The audit and the program modification documents should be maintained at the training facility.

You can review the complete CFR 29 1910.120, Appendix E.

Download a Sample Training Plan (pdf format).

10. How long should the employer maintain safety records?

a. As long as the employee is employed
b. At least five years
c. Up to five years
d. Until training is updated

Check your Work

Click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and recheck your answers.



Watch this short video that tells a story. Telling stories like this is one of the best ways to instill the importance of safety on employees. This Safety Memos video discusses a fatal accident that actually occurred in a workplace, and relate the factors and events that may have led to the worker getting killed.

Next Module
OSHAcademy Ultimate Guide Banner Ad