The most important aspect of an effective health and safety management system is training; because, without training, the most sophisticated system cannot be managed nor sustained.
Now you want to train, but you are wondering: What training is needed? Why is it needed? How should it be presented to the learners? And also, how to measure the effectiveness of learning.
Looking at each of these closely:
What training is needed?
Primarily, your industry and its peculiar hazards determine what health and safety training is needed – aside from the generic issues common to all sectors. Also, compliance and regulatory requirements equally highlight what your workers should know – so that you are at least in good standing with the law.
That being said, it is clear that an oil and gas organization would have a different health and safety outlook from a Telco – yet not disclaiming that there are fundamental hazards common to both.
Why is training needed?
Is your company operating under a particular regulatory standard? Or your investors stipulate the need for an active health and safety management system? Better still, is your top management kind enough to want to ensure everyone in the organization stays healthy and safe? The latter being the perfect one since leadership commitment and moral obligations make for a good recipe an excellent safety culture.
Why training is needed is fundamental to determining the quality of training to be provided, and also the financial commitment (if any) that should follow.
For instance, in a workplace with a high risk of fire and explosion, training on topics such as fire prevention, emergency evacuation, and first aid firefighting are non-negotiable; and any reasonable management of such an organization would invest in the highest quality of training on these subjects.
How should it be presented to learners?
Adults are generally known to have short attention span. Younger folks get bored easily. Smart people assume they already know what you want to teach. There is always a challenge as to what medium you should use to share knowledge.
To overcome this dilemma, it might be helpful to consider the demography of your workforce – baby boomers or millennials, highly technical or unskilled – there is always a middle ground.
For instance, while older workers may be comfortable with conventional show and tell, it is quite possible that you only get the attention of the younger workers by using trending terminologies and deploying advanced multimedia technologies that would keep them engaged. Some organizations now use Virtual Reality (VR) headset to train new workers on operational hazards. Tell me, is there any 22 year old who doesn’t love VR?
How to measure effectiveness of training
If you plan to engage a group of adult in any meaningful training, you should carefully consider the content of the training, and the actual environment where the knowledge would be needed. Losing touch with this reality means training workers may not achieve meaningful result in terms of knowledge retention and application.
For example, a welder who works on the shop floor might not be able to apply what was learned in a classroom environment. Not because he is not smart or unwilling, but basically, he could not make a connection between the classroom learning, and the actual hazardous welding operations. To bridge such a gap, it might be ideal to simulate the welding environment in the classroom, with interactive dialogues, sketches and physical materials, etc. But the best option would be to carry out the training in the welding workshop, where the lesson learned is immediately appreciated and may be applied!
At Baca Resources, we conduct training needs analysis in helping our clients develop an effective health and safety training program. Our competent training team not only advises on training needs, but also delivers effective training sessions, after which an organization can readily see an improvement in their health and safety performance, and also, an increased productivity.