What is Workplace Safety Training and Why Do You Need It?

steps to an effective safety training program

So you want to develop a workplace safety training program. Okay, you do not so much want as you are required to. Like most business owners. But you’re not the type to neglect things like employee safety. Because you know well that training for safety is the most cost-effective way to protect your most precious asset: your workforce.

If the very thought of reading hundreds of pages of OSHA regulations puts you to sleep – you’ve come to to the right place. We’ve read them all, thank you, coffee! And have a battle-plan to start tackling this seemingly impossible mission – creating, and successfully delivering, a stellar workplace safety training program for your business.

Know Your Enemy – What is Workplace Safety Training?

Workplace safety training is a process that aims to provide your workforce with knowledge and skills to perform their work in a way that is safe for them and their co-workers. In addition, an effective workplace safety plan includes instructions and guidelines to identify hazards, report them, and deal with incidents.

As an employer, it is your legal (and moral) responsibility to instruct your workers how to perform in a safe and healthy manner before they even start to work. Safety training is an integral part of the employee onboarding process but it also requires regular “refresher” courses for compliance (and effectiveness). Not only because employee alertness goes down over time, but also because safety protocols change to keep up with changes in equipment, materials, and roles within the business.

workplace accidents

Why You Need Workplace Safety Training in Your Business

Beyond the obvious reasons – regulation and moral responsibility – there are plenty of advantages to investing more time and thought in a well-planned workplace safety training program. Here are a few:

  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Less productivity loss due to illness or injury
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Reduced worker compensation for medical leave due work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Protection from liability lawsuits
  • Future incident prevention

But odds are you’re already convinced, and are reading this post to learn how to make your safety training program a stellar example of employer diligence.

Training Beyond Regulation

Not all workplace safety training courses are the same. For different tasks and industries, there are different safety training requirements [PDF], both in content and training frequency. So there’s really no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to workplace safety training.

The regulatory demands of OSHA and state health and safety authorities are the bare minimum. When planning your workplace safety training program, your goal should be to minimize incidents, maximize awareness and alertness, and keep your employees healthy, happy and productive. Not just comply with regulatory demands.

Steps to an Effective Workplace Safety Training Program

Infographic describing workplace injury data

  1. Identify the needs of your business, potential hazards, and training objectives. Then, analyze past incidents and common industry hazards. Figure out which issues need to be addressed through training, and which have other solutions like protective equipment or warning signs.
  2. Involve your workforce in developing, implementing, and optimizing the training program. The contribution of managers, supervisors and workers is crucial. They have the best understanding of how work gets done, and where dangers to their safety and health might be hiding.
  3. Create modular training and testing processes that can be applied to each role in the business according to regulations. For example, knife safety handling instructions are the same for a waiter and fry cook, while fire safety protocols might be different for each.
  4. Train managers and supervisors in the safety requirements of their teams. This will allow them to identify issues with employee compliance with safety regulations.
  5. Include communication channels for hazard reporting in your training, so workers know who to contact and how to prevent a potential accident.
  6. Test your workers with quizzes, surprise inspections. These can help you determine how effective your workplace safety program is before an accident forces you to discover it is not.
  7. Provide continuous and easy access to safety training content to let employees refresh their memory when necessary. For example, an employee who was instructed on the safety requirements of operating a certain machine six months ago, and hasn’t touched it since? Is more likely to stay safe if they have the content of the training course readily available for him to review.

Safety Training in 2017 – Not Your Grandma’s Safety Training Videos

Safety training programs today are very different from those made a decade ago. New technologies are responsible for the most obvious changes in the way we communicate. This affects the way we train and complete tasks. But keeping up with technological trends is not the only reason your business safety training plan needs to be current to be effective.

  • Mobile workforce – More and more businesses employ remote workers as well as deskless workers on the go. These are harder to train than in-house employees.
    Solution – Safety training tools and formats that do not require on-site presence.
  • Contingent workforce – With the “gig economy” becoming prevalent across all industries, training (including health and safety training) needs to be fast (but thorough).
    Solution – Modular training programs, easily customizable for onboarding.
  • Workplace diversity – Global economy is getting more global in 2017. However, international organizations and businesses employing expats often lack safety training materials in multiple languages.
    Solution – Technological tools that allow for quick translation and localization of the training modules.

Fast & Effective Delivery of Workplace Safety Training with Connecteam

There’s no doubt that some types of safety training require hands-on demonstrations and are best delivered in person or in a small group. But when it comes to workplace safety training of deskless workers, contingent employees or a dispersed global workforce – the best choice is mobile learning.

safety training mobile app

Create your safety training module quickly and easily

With Connecteam, you can create your own customized company app to deliver your workplace safety training program to your employees using the one device everyone has in 2017 – their mobile phone. Your employee app makes safety training flexible, interactive and accessible at all times. While the safety manuals in your business might be collecting dust somewhere, searchable and easy-to-use training materials help make sure your employees have the knowledge they need at their fingertips.

Connect your deskless workers with an employee app.

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