No matter what industry you’re in, safety orientation and ongoing training are vital to safety and productivity. If employers want their workers to take training seriously, then management needs to promote a positive safety culture that engages employees to learn how to perform tasks safely and keep skills current. How management views workplace safety filters down to workers. If management’s attitude toward training is that it’s too expensive and takes too much time—or that it is forced to provide training out of mandatory compliance—the impression is that management doesn’t care about workers’ well-being. If safety is more about enforcement rather than reinforcement, employees are more likely to make poor choices when it comes to safety performance and behaviors. On the other hand, if safety isn’t well defined, consistently communicated and progressively enforced, workers may interpret this message as a green light to break the rules and skip crucial life-saving steps. How can you show your workers that you take training seriously?
  • Understand the applicable laws pertaining to your type of business and relate it to your workers’ specific training needs.
  • Keep current on the laws, technologies, processes, hazards and employee changes; then provide appropriate orientations, refreshers and continuation training.
  • Clearly communicate safety expectations through company policies and safety training.
  • Investigate incidents and near misses and use lessons learned for training reinforcement.
  • Get workers involved in the decision-making process for improving unsafe practices and behavior by identifying and correcting hazards.
  • Use leadership skills and positive feedback to encourage desired safe behaviors.
  • Encourage safe behaviors and performance by engaging in meaningful coaching practices and hands-on skills building.
  • Watch for improvements and give recognition for performing tasks safely.
  • Practice makes perfect. Training needs to be consistent, repetitive and manageable.
  • Make safety training participation/performance part of your management meetings, as well as your employee performance reviews.
  • Periodically, attend the training yourself as a participant.
Your workers are your most important asset. They deserve to be treated with respect and protected while on the job. Give them the support they need so they can work safely and return to their families healthy.