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Safety for Dumbies!
HOW TO create an effective and efficient safety program for your company, reduce accidents and minimize the potential for OSHA fines without going insane
Effective Safety Training
Whether you conduct annual refresher safety training on half a dozen or two dozen topics the key is to have effective results. Effective is a word OSHA uses to describe the outcome of your training - they can cite your company for not having effective safety training. Ok, so how do you ensure that your training is effective? The proof must be present on the workstation level - do workers put into practice what they were taught? To get employees to conform to specific safety behaviors, you must have a well though out, well designed and well executed training program. It must be as well engineered as any product or service your company provides. This includes quality control checkpoints to monitor the process.
Step 1 - Scope
Define the training your employees need. This should be based on the hazards in your specific facility - make a list of all the possible hazards, such as confined spaces, respiratory, slip & trip, electrical, bloodborne pathogens, chemical exposure, etc. Next to each hazard, list what work areas have these hazards. For each work area, list the specific job titles for each potential hazard.
Weíre not done yet... List all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by employees. Next to each specific PPE, list the tasks or job titles that use the PPE.
One more list.... Donít forget the specialized training required for forklifts, boilers, process equipment, chemical mixing, and special hazard operations such as confined space entry.
This process should reveal the various safety training topics and who needs the training.
Step 2 - Foundation
Now that the training topics have been identified, how will you design the training? Some companies rely heavily on safety video tapes, some use formal lectures with training handouts or self-paced computer based training. Still others find that short, small group topic specific "toolbox" or "tailgate" talks work best for them. There are many other different training formats and you will most probably use several types with variations for the topic and the type employees being trained. Before you decide on a training format develop a short outline that defines what information is to be included for each topic. A good general outline will discuss the following:
∑ Purpose of the specific training & safety program
∑ Company Policy
∑ Who is responsible for the administration of the program
∑ Responsibilities of Management, Supervisors and Employees
∑ Hazards and their effects
∑ Safe Behaviors
∑ Specific Hazard Controls - Engineering, Administrative, Training & Supervision Controls
∑ Procedures for reporting uncontrolled hazards
∑ Emergency Procedures.
For PPE training, you must include:
∑ Donning & removal training
∑ Limitations of the PPE
∑ Selection process
Having this structured information outline provides a quality control check for whatever training format you chose.
Step 3 - Structure
Who will conduct the training, for who and where. Answering these questions will help clarify how the training must be structured. Consider the training competency of the trainers. Inexperienced trainers will better develop their skills by starting with small groups in less formal settings. Consider the trainerís understanding of the material. More effective training will result if they have been given time to prepare and become comfortable with the material. Using "Train the Trainer" sessions is an excellent way to develop supervisors into trainers on specific topics - this type training will also improve their supervisory skills. Another consideration is the use of safety committee members during training sessions to help the trainer. Placing safety committee members in front of the groups they represent will strengthen their day to day roll of monitoring safety on the job. Your choices of training structure includes:
1. Formal classroom training
2. Informal small group safety meetings
3. Job site meetings
4. Self-paced computer based training
Step 4 - Tools
Donít ask someone to do any task, especially training, without the proper tools. You will need to develop a group of tools for each task to cover the various structures in which the training may be conducted. Possible training tools include:
∑ Video tapes
∑ Training Outline
∑ Discussion Points
∑ Overhead Transparencies
∑ Power Point Presentations
∑ Summary questions
∑ Attendance sheet
∑ Safety/Toolbox/Tailgate talk
∑ Whiteboards/Chalkboards & markers
∑ Training aids - examples such as tags, signs, PPE, tools, example sheets, etc.
Step 5 - Training Session
The goal is effective training. The first milestone for this goal is to make the training interesting and applicable to your employees. Videos that are professionally produced can be helpful as long as the work areas and type of work shown on the video is similar to those of your employees. Use real world examples from your facility - accident reports, photos from your company, video tape tours, do whatever you can to make the application of training meaningful to your workplaces.