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 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.
You need to encourage a great incident reporting culture so that you can effortlessly create a safer workplace and can identify how your company can continually improve the workplace environment. When a new incident happens, you have to have a quick method to relay the message to all your employees to avoid the incident from happening a second time. Employees need to be able to easily access old hazard reports so they can learn on-the-job. You should be able to warn and alert your employees to a hazard BEFORE it happens. When one happens, you need to be able to handle the situation DURING the incident. And then AFTER the incident, you have to be able to easily let the rest of the team know, like about the wet floor so slipping can be avoided. There is a lot that goes into protecting your employees so you must have a stable process in place.
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.
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 to 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
1. Identify business needs
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. Include your employees
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. Applies to all roles
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. Include managers
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. Communication channels are a must
Include communication channels for hazard reporting in your training, so workers know who to contact and how to prevent a potential accident.
6. Issue tests
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. Make it continuous
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? It is more likely to stay safe if they have the content of the training course readily available for him to review.
Safety Training in 2020 – 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.
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.
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.
The global economy is getting more global in 2020. However, international organizations and businesses employing ex-pats often lack safety training materials in multiple languages.
Solution? Technological tools that allow for quick translation and localization of the training modules.
Workplace safety training during crisis management
Whenever your company must deal with a crisis, including a cyber-attack, rumors, organizational misdeeds, workplace violence, man-made disasters or a global pandemic like COVID-19, you must get ahead to manage the situation. With Connecteam, you can easily adapt and respond to evolving conditions, making sure your team is on the same page.
Give your team every resource needed to understand the situation – especially by creating dedicated templates that include videos, text, files, and images. Like with coronavirus, your employees should have instant access to:
- Relevant information regarding the virus.
- Insulation guidelines
- Symptoms of infection
- Links to the World Health Organization materials and more. Share some of the World’s Health Organization’s recent publications via a link in the app.
Additionally, you would have new procedures in place to prevent and deal with the coronavirus. Create a dedicated library in the app for all new Corona related procedures, such as Convergence Guidelines, Work Transportation, Disinfection of Work Areas, Conferences Attendance, Tutorials, Flight Policies, Vacation Procedure Update, FAQs, etc.
Take it a step further and update your emergency contact list in the app.
Above all else, provide continuous communication:
- Chat: Create a dedicated chat channel with key team members from HR ready to address questions.
- Create a dedicated chat channel for Q&A.
- Updates: consider keeping the team up to date with key updates such as:
- General updates regarding the company’s preparations and actions to protect the team.
- Regular updates from the CEO on the company’s way of conduct regarding the virus.
- Other key updates on customers and company activity with respect to working with partners, etc.
- Operational updates: if for example, you are moving to ‘work from home’ mode, or if you go back to routine, keep the team posted on operational changes.
The above are very specific examples related directly to the coronavirus however, you must apply that same mindset and preparation for any crisis.
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.
Make training digital
Connecteam makes safety training flexible, interactive and accessible at all times. Make sure all your employees have access to training material and professional skills at the click of a button.
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 2019 – 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.
Connecteam makes it easy to run your business. Try it yourself.