Helping someone learn a new job presents a special challenge for the supervisor or lead worker. Using effective demonstrations, coaching, modeling, and feedback techniques require specific skills to make one-on-one or small group instruction really work.
The purpose of this module is to discuss ways in which you can become a successful On-The-Job (OJT) trainer. Only experience will provide you the skills you need to feel accomplished at presenting OJT training. At the end of this module, however, you should have enough information, along with some practice, to conduct an OJT session with confidence.
The purpose of OJT is to provide the employee with task-specific knowledge and skills in his or her job/work area. The knowledge and skills presented during on-the-job training are directly related to those they will perform on the job.
OJT can be one of the best training methods because it is planned, organized, and can be conducted at the employee's workstation. OJT is generally the most common method used to broaden employee skills and increase productivity. It is particularly appropriate for developing skills unique to an employee's job. And, did you know that most safety training requires hands-on practice and demonstration, so OJT is a great way to make sure you meet OSHA expectations.
To prepare to conduct an OJT session, the first step is to develop your lesson plan. If you already have a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Job Safety Analysis (JSA) completed for the task being trained, it's just a matter of using that document as your lesson plan. For more information on developing JHAs please see OSHAcademy Course 706.
In this step the student becomes familiar with each work practice and why it is important. The trainer reviews the initial conditions for the procedure. The trainer then carefully explains each step of the procedure. The trainer also answers questions and continues to demonstrate and explain each step until they are sure the student understands how to correctly perform each step.
The trainer DESCRIBES each step in the task or procedure and then PERFORMS each step while the student watches.
The student OBSERVES the trainer perform each step and also QUESTIONS the trainer.
This step is necessary when exposure to hazards inherent in the procedure could cause serious harm. It protects the student because the trainer performs the procedure. The student explains the procedure to the trainer, while the trainer performs the steps. This gives the trainer an opportunity to discover whether there were any misunderstandings in the previous step. The student also responds to trainer questions.
The student TELLS the trainer how to perform each step and RESPONDS to the trainer's questions.
The trainer PERFORMS each step as directed by the student and QUESTIONS the student about the step.
This is the first step in which the student actually performs the procedure or practice. To ensure safety, the student must first receive permission from the trainer to perform the step. The trainer has the student perform each step, giving permission before each step is performed.
This step is important to protect the student as he or she performs each step of the procedure. Remember, the student is not fully-qualified to perform the procedure, so if the procedure includes steps that could cause an injury, OSHA requires very close, direct supervision of the student while in training. It's best to simulate the steps of a hazardous procedure in a classroom or other location where no actual hazards are present.
When the student explains what he or she is going to do, gets permission, and only then continues with the step, it helps make sure the student remains protected from getting hurt.
The student TELLS the trainer what he or she will do in the step, ASKS PERMISSION to continue, and then PERFORMS the step.
The trainer LISTENS to the student's explanation of the step GIVES PERMISSION OR STOPS the student as needed and OBSERVES the student complete the step.
Once the formal training is finished, the trainer should:
After the conclusion of the OJT session, the trainer, or better yet, the supervisor should observe the employee applying what they've learned in the actual work environment. Doing so results in strong documentation that helps to legally protect both the employee being trained and the employer.
Tip: To prove the employee has the knowledge and skills to a job safely, have the employee teach you how to do the job. If the employee can effectively train you how to do the job, he or she is qualified and you can sign them off. If they can't, you should not qualify them; it's time for some retraining.
By the way, When OSHA inspects, the compliance officer may ask employees about the job they are doing. The employees won't be able to hide their ignorance and it won't take long for the compliance officer to determine if the employee is qualified to do the job.
The well-known OSHA adage, "if it isn't in writing, it didn't get done," is true for any kind of safety training. For OJT training, documentation should be more than an attendance sheet.
To document the training, the trainee certifies:
The instructor certifies the trainee has:
See the sample training certification documents in Course 721, Module 5. It represents one possible way to document training.