There are a number of things that might trigger the need for training. The two categories of triggers are internal and external. If any of these triggers exist, one or more employees may need training.
Certain occurrences and trends within the company may require safety training:
OSHA and other government agencies regularly publish rules and guidelines that affect the way work is conducted. Examples of external triggers that might require training include:
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. To do that, 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 program, 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.
It's important to conduct the needs assessment process to gather information about the learner, and the task so that we can design appropriate training that meets specific learner needs.
To get information about the learner:
To get information about task requirements, it's a good idea to do the following:
While all employees are entitled to know as much as possible about the safety and health hazards to which they are exposed, and employers should attempt to provide all relevant information and instruction to all employees, the resources for such an effort frequently are not, or are not believed to be, available. Thus, employers are often faced with the problem of deciding who is in the greatest need of information and instruction.
One way to differentiate between employees who have priority needs for training and those who do not is to identify employee populations which are at higher levels of risk. The nature of the work will provide an indication that such groups should receive priority for information on occupational safety and health risks.
The Job Hazard Analysis, also called a Job Safety Analysis, is a procedure for studying and recording each step of a job, identifying existing or potential hazards, and determining the best way to perform the job in order to reduce or eliminate the risks. Information obtained from the JHA is used to develop Safe Job Procedures (SJP) which can be used as an excellent training resource when teaching employees how to properly perform hazardous procedures. For more information in developing an effective JHA, take OSHAcademy Course 706.
One method of prioritizing safety training is to pinpoint hazardous tasks. In most industries there are some employees who operate at greater risk than others. In other cases the degree of risk of a task is influenced by the conditions under which it is performed, such as noise, heat or cold, or safety or health hazards in the surrounding area. In these situations, employees should be trained not only on how to perform their job safely but also on how to operate within a hazardous environment.
A second method of prioritizing safety training is to examine incidents and accidents, both within the company and within the industry. If employees in certain jobs are experiencing higher accident and injury rates than other employees, training may be one way to reduce that rate. In addition, thorough incident/accident analysis can identify not only specific employees who could benefit from training but also identify company-wide training needs.
Research has identified the following variables as being related to a disproportionate share of injuries and illnesses at the worksite on the part of employees:
These variables should be considered when identifying employee groups for training in occupational safety and health.
Some organizations consider the safety and health function as primarily a human resource or staff responsibility. They fail to understand safety as a part of overall operations (production or service), and even worse, they believe safety education and training need not be given to line managers: A big mistake. Consequently, some employers neglect to adequately educate managers about general safety and health concepts and how to apply them in the workplace.
Managers who understand both the way 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 have an especially critical role in safety and health protection because of their immediate responsibility for workers and for the work being performed. Effective training of supervisors will address their safety and health management responsibilities as well as information on hazards, hazard prevention, and response to emergencies. A short list of topics for supervisor safety training include: