Trainers should be "competent" in developing and implementing the various elements of a safety training program.
Trainers can gain competency by achieving an appropriate level of technical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) in the subjects they teach. They can gain these skills through training, continuing education and, of course, on the job experience.
Trainers should be:
It's important to document trainer competency by maintaining course completion certificates, experience records, licensing, and other documents. The methods used to document trainer competency is left to the discretion of the employer.
Instructors should be deemed competent on the basis of the criteria below:
OSHA rule 1910.120(e)(5) Qualifications for trainers: Trainers shall be qualified to instruct employees about the subject matter that is being presented in training. Such trainers shall have satisfactorily completed a training program for teaching the subjects they are expected to teach, or they shall have the academic credentials and instructional experience necessary for teaching the subjects. Instructors shall demonstrate competent instructional skills and knowledge of the applicable subject matter.
Instructors should be required to maintain professional competency by participating in continuing education or professional development programs or by successfully completing an annual refresher course and having an annual review by a training director or other competent manager.
The annual review should include observation of an instructor's delivery, a review of those observations with the trainer, and an analysis of any instructor or class evaluations completed by the students during the previous year.
Source: 1910.120 App E, Training Curriculum Guidelines - (Non-mandatory)
First-line supervisors and managers play a crucial role in safety and health protection because of their responsibility for workers and for the work being performed. Effective training of supervisors and managers will address their safety and health management responsibilities as well as information on hazards, hazard prevention, and response to emergencies. Although they may have other safety and health responsibilities, supervisors and managers should be fully involved in training safety to send a strong message of personal leadership.
Bottom line: If supervisors and managers can't train safety, how in the world can they supervise and manage it?
Throughout the rest of this module, we'll discuss the various principles and best practices associated with developing safety instruction and hands-on training. For a more complete discussion, see OSHAcademy courses 721 Developing Safety Training and 723 Conducting Safety Training.
The first step in the safety training development process is a basic one; ask questions to determine if a problem can be solved with training. Whenever employees are not performing their jobs safely, we might assume training will bring them up to standard.
Let's say your supervisor comes to you and says his or her employees are not using safe procedures. The first assumption might be that they need training. Don't roll over and agree with that assumption. It's quite possible that training (for those employees anyway) may not be the solution to the problem.
It is possible the supervisor and/or others in the organization may need to accomplish one or more of the following non-training strategies to help make sure employees use safe procedures and practices:
Who knows, maybe the supervisor and others need the training! Let's not always assume employee safety training is the solution for unsafe behavior.
Check out the online decision-tree checklist exercise at the end of this module to ask the right questions if someone requests safety training. You can download a similar checklist (pdf) to help you determine if training is the answer to a performance problem.
If the problem is one that can be solved in whole or in part by training, then the next step is to determine what training is needed. For this, it is necessary to identify what the employee is expected to do and in what ways, if any, the employee's performance is deficient.
When designing a new training curriculum, or preparing to instruct an employee in an unfamiliar procedure or system, a job hazard analysis can be developed by examining engineering data on new equipment or the safety data sheets on unfamiliar substances. The content of the specific OSHA standards applicable to a business can also provide direction in developing training content.
If learning needs can be met by revising an existing training program rather than developing a new one, or if employees already have some knowledge of the process or system to be used, appropriate training content can be developed through such means as:
Employees can provide valuable information on the training they need. Safety and health hazards can be identified through the employees' responses to such questions as whether anything about their jobs frightens them, if they have had any near-miss incidents, if they think they are taking risks, or if they believe that their jobs involve hazardous operations or substances.
You can download a similar checklist (pdf) to help you determine if training is the answer to a performance problem.
Some organizations consider the safety and health function as a human resource or staff responsibility. They fail to understand safety as an integrated part of overall operations (production or service). Even worse, they believe safety education is not required for line managers because it's not a "line" responsibility: it's a "staff" function. Consequently, some employers may not adequately educate managers about general safety and health concepts and how to apply them in the workplace.
Managers who understand both the manner and the extent to which effective safety and health protection impacts on the overall effectiveness of the business itself are far more likely to ensure that the necessary safety and health management programs are designed and perform well.
First-line supervisors play a critical role in safety and health protection because of their first-line responsibility for workers and for the work their employees perform. Effective training of supervisors will address their safety and health responsibilities as well as information on hazards, hazard prevention, and response to emergencies. A short list of topics for supervisor safety training include:
One of the most important, yet for some, the most difficult activities in the training process is writing clear-cut, competency-based learning objectives that describe what the learner will be able to do at the end of the training session. Some trainers believe goals and objectives are basically the same thing; not so. Let's take a look.
A goal is nothing more than a wish. We've all stated goals like, "I wish I could lose some weight," from time to time. Goals are broad in the sense that they state general intentions. They are not specific enough to be measured. Objectives, on the other hand, are narrow and are set for certain tasks in particular. There are two basic types of goals:
A training goal is a general statement about what the trainer wants to do. It states how the trainer will achieve the intended outcome of training. Training goals might be stated in an instructor guide, but not in the student workbook or handout.
A learning goal, on the other hand, is a general statement about what the trainer wants each student to know and/or do. It summarizes what the learner, not the trainer, will know or be able to do. Learning goals would be included in the student workbook or handout.
Objectives are much more specific than goals. They state observable measurable outcomes - what we do and how well we do it.
A training objective is a specific statement describing what the trainer is going to do during or immediately after training. For instance, a training objective might state: "During the first hour of the training session, the trainer, given a full-face respirator, will discuss and perform each step of the respirator don-doff procedure."
A learning objective is a specific statement describing what the learner will know and/or be able to do after training. It describes results, rather than the means of achieving those results. It defines expectations for the learner. For example, a learning objective might state: "By the end of the class, each student, when given a full-face respirator, will be able to correctly perform all steps of the don-doff procedure."
Writing learning objectives is required by ANSI Z490.1 guidelines when hazardous procedures and practices are taught. Virtually all technical safety training requires testing. Because employees must be tested, learning objectives are necessary to design specific measures and standards into training.
Once the objectives for the training are precisely stated, then learning activities can be identified and described. Remember, when OSHA uses the terms "demonstrate" in their standards, the intent is that employees must be able to prove they can do something by actually doing it in the learning environment. This means you'll need to include a "hands-on" learning activity to show employees how to do things. It also means you'll need to give them a chance to practice.
You now know basically what subjects you're going to present, but which presentation strategy is going to work best for you? Let's take a look at several alternatives:
No matter the training strategy used, it's important to make sure employees get practice before they are actually exposed to hazards in the work environment. Some of the key requirements are stated or implied in OSHA rules. Three of the most important are:
It's important for the employer to keep complete and accurate records of all safety and health training by the provider (like OSHAcademy) because it's required by more than 100 OSHA standards, and it's also recommended by ANSI Z490.1. Here are just a few reasons why strong documentation is important:
If a class or safety meeting presents general information related to safety, an attendance roster will likely satisfy documentation requirements. If any kind of testing is included, document the results.
When safety training requires employees to demonstrate adequate knowledge, skills, and ability to perform hazardous tasks or procedures, an attendance roster may not be legally sufficient to document the training.
Technical safety training should include a formal certification. Certification of training usually involves issuing a certificate of competency or qualification. To make your training documentation strong, you may want to consider including the following information:
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