The first step in the training process is a basic one; ask questions to determine if a problem can be solved by 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.
Worker training is essential to every employer´s safety and health program. The time and money it takes to train workers is an investment that pays off in fewer workplace accidents and lower insurance premiums. Effective training also helps inexperienced workers, who tend to have higher injury and illness rates than experienced workers.
Ideally, safety and health training should occur before exposure or accidents occur. Training should cover both general safety and health rules and specific work procedures, and should be repeated if an observation, near-miss incident or injury accident occurs due to a lack of knowledge or skills. Problems that can be addressed effectively by training include those that arise from lack of knowledge of a work process, unfamiliarity with equipment or incorrect execution of a task.
Training isn't as likely to help if workers lack...
You can argue that the underlying culture influences a worker's motivation and attention to the job, and I think you would have a good argument. Whatever its purpose, training is most effective when designed in relation to the goals of the employer´s total safety and health program.
No amount of training is likely to improve workplace safety unless you make it part of an effective, integrated Safety and Health Program.
Before we can determine if a discrepancy is caused by a lack of knowledge, skills or abilities, we need to accurately describe the actual safety performance. For example, we might describe a safety performance discrepancy as, "failure to perform proper lockout/tagout procedures."
If, in our analysis, we discover the employee demonstrates a lack of knowledge, skills or abilities, then training is the answer. Non-training actions are not appropriate.
I think it is wise to assume that a new employee in your organization may require comprehensive safety training. To find out if they meet your standards, test what they know and can do. If they need training, give it to them before first exposure to hazards. Experienced current employees may only require training on new procedures or machinery. Again, if in doubt, "test them out!"
If you discover there is not a lack of knowledge, skills or abilities, training is likely not the answer. It is appropriate to use non-training corrective strategies to raise performance levels.
For instance, discipline may be appropriate if an employee fails to wear eye protection as required and it is determined that he or she has been trained, knows how to use the eyewear, understands the safety rules and consequences, but has made the decision not to wear the eye protection. I emphasize "may" because root cause analysis may uncover a system weakness that allows the unsafe behavior. If the system fails the employee, fix the system.!
To help figure out the appropriate solution, you can the use the checklist on the next page. The checklist takes you through the decision-making process to determine one or more intervention options: training, resources, supervision, enforcement, and leadership.
____ Are employee knowledge, skills and ability (KSAs) sufficient?
____ Has the employee performed the task before?
____ Is the task accomplished often?
Non-Training Options Checklist
____ Are resources and support adequate?
____ Is safety supervision/management adequate?
____ Is safety enforcement adequate?
____ Do supervisors and managers comply with safety policies and rules?
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