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Conducting On-The-Job Training (OJT)


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.

1. What is necessary before a trainer can acquire the skills to present on-the-job (OJT) training?

a. The belief in the OJT process
b. A compliant attitude
c. Experience in OJT
d. Professional certification

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The knowledge and skills presented during on-the-job training are directly related to those they will perform on the job.

Purpose of On-The-Job Training

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.

2. To meet OSHA standards, most safety training requires _____.

a. hands-on practice and demonstration
b. verbal testing and evaluation
c. completion of an attendance roster
d. classroom participation

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Introduce yourself and welcome the employee(s).

The 7-Step OJT Process

Step 1: Introduction

  • Introduce yourself and welcome the employee(s). Give them a little background about your position, experience, and training.
  • Tell the student what you're going to train. "Today we're going to learn how to..." You might be training a:
    • process (a number of procedures);
    • job/procedure (containing a number of steps); or
    • task (part of a job/procedure - how to put on a harness).
  • Discuss the acceptable standards of knowledge and performance. For dangerous tasks that could result in an injury if not performed correctly, your students should be able to perform at the 100% skill level. There's no room for error.
  • Discuss natural and system consequences. The natural consequences are "hurt" or "health". If they don't do the task safely, they'll get hurt. Remember tough-caring leadership approach from Course 712? It applies nicely to the OJT process. Tell them you're going to have high expectations for their performance (that's being tough) because you care about their safety. The most effective OJT occurs when students know you care about their safety.
  • Tell them why it's important. Emphasize the importance of the procedure to the success of the production/service goals. Again, when students know why the task is important, they're more likely to follow safe procedures when not being directly supervised.
  • Invite questions. Questions are most likely to come later during the training. Emphasize personal accountability and discipline (leadership). Discipline is using the correct procedure each time and every time, even when you don't feel like it.

3. For dangerous tasks your students should be able to perform at the _____ skill level.

a. 70%
b. 80%
c. 90%
d. 100%

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The 7-Step OJT Process (Continued)

gsg image trainer-learner
This step is mostly instructional.
Click to enlarge.

Step 2: Trainer Show and Tell

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.

4. What is the next step in the OJT after the trainer introduces the training to the student?

a. The student tells the trainer what steps to perform
b. The trainer observes the student performing each step
c. Tell the student to perform each step of the procedure
d. The trainer describes and performs each step of the procedure

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The 7-Step OJT Process (Continued)

gsg image learner-trainer
In this step, the learner instructs the trainer.
Click to enlarge.

Step 3: Student Tells - Trainer Shows

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.

5. Why does the OJT trainer perform a step before requiring the student to complete the step?

a. To comply with OSHA requirements for OJT training
b. To protect the student from injury when performing a step
c. To verify the student is listening to the trainer
d. Tell the student to do the step

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The 7-Step OJT Process (Continued)

gsg image learner does
In this step, the learner gets permission and performs the procedure.
Click to enlarge.

Step 4: Student Tells and Shows

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.

6. What must the student do to help stay protected from getting hurt while being trained?

a. Try to stay ahead of the trainer
b. Move to the next step immediately
c. Get permission to do the step
d. Stop, look, and listen

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The 7-Step OJT Process (Continued)

Step 5: Trainer Concludes the Training

Recognize, document, and validate the training.
Recognize, validate, and document the training.

Once the formal training is finished, the trainer should:

  • Recognize the student's accomplishment - "Good job!"
  • Reemphasize the importance of the procedure and how it fits into the overall process.
  • Remind the employee about their responsibilities and accountability by discussing the natural consequences (hurt/health) and system consequences (reprimand/reward).

Step 6: Trainer/Supervisor Validates the Training

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.

Step 7: Trainer/Supervisor Documents the Training

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:

  • training was accomplished
  • questions were answered
  • opportunities provided to do procedure
  • accountabilities understood
  • intent to comply

The instructor certifies the trainee has:

  • demonstrated adequate knowledge
  • developed the skills to complete the procedures

See the sample training certification documents in Course 721, Module 5. It represents one possible way to document training.

7. As a supervisor or trainer, how can you best verify that a worker has both adequate knowledge and skills to do a job safely?

a. Ask the employee questions about the job
b. Review the employee's test results
c. Have the employee to teach you how to do the job
d. Have the employee certify he or she knows the material

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, 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 check your answers again.

Final Exam
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