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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
Safety Training Program Model
Using this training program development model, you can develop and administer safety and health training programs that address problems specific to their own business, fulfill the learning needs of their own employees, and strengthen the overall safety and health program of the workplace.
1: Determining If Training Is Needed
Problems that can be addressed effectively by training include those that arise from lack of knowledge of a work process, unfamiliarity with equipment, or incorrect execution of a task. Training is less effective (but still can be used) for problems arising from an employee's lack of motivation or lack of attention to the job. Whatever its purpose, training is most effective when designed in relation to the goals of the employer's total safety and health program.
When designing a new training program, or preparing to instruct an employee in an unfamiliar procedure or system, a job analysis can be developed by examining engineering data on new equipment or the safety data sheets on unfamiliar substances. The content of the specific Federal or State OSHA standards applicable to a business can also provide direction in developing training content. Another option is to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis. This is a procedure for studying and recording each step of a job, identifying existing or potential hazards, and determining the best way to perform the job in order to reduce or eliminate the risks. Information obtained from a Job Hazard Analysis can be used as the content for the training activity.
If an employee's learning needs can be met by revising an existing training program rather than developing a new one, or if the employee already has some knowledge of the process or system to be used, appropriate training content can be developed through such means as:
1. Using company accident and injury records to identify how accidents occur and what can be done to prevent them from recurring.
2. Requesting employees to provide, in writing and in their own words, descriptions of their jobs. These should include the tasks performed and the tools, materials and equipment used.
3. Observing employees at the worksite as they perform tasks, asking about the work, and recording their answers.
4. Examining similar training programs offered by other companies in the same industry, or obtaining suggestions from such organizations as the National Safety Council (which can provide information on Job Hazard Analysis), the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OSHA–approved State programs, OSHA full–service Area Offices, OSHA–funded State consultation programs, or the OSHA Office of
Training and Education.
2 - Identifying Goals And Objectives
Learning objectives do not necessarily have to be written, but in order for the training to be as successful as possible, clear and measurable objectives should be thought–out before the training begins. For an objective to be effective it should identify as precisely as possible what the individuals will do to demonstrate that they have learned, or that the objective has been reached. They should also describe the important conditions under which the individual will demonstrate competence and define what constitutes acceptable performance.
Using specific, action–oriented language, the instructional objectives should describe the preferred practice or skill and its observable behavior. For example, rather than using the statement: "The employee will understand how to use a respirator" as an instructional objective, it would be better to say: "The employee will be able to describe how a respirator works and when it should be used." Objectives are most effective when worded in sufficient detail that other qualified persons can recognize when the desired behavior is exhibited.
Thus, employers may want to arrange the objectives and activities in a sequence which corresponds to the order in which the tasks are to be performed on the job, if a specific process is to be learned. For instance, if an employee must learn the beginning processes of using a machine, the sequence might be:
(1) to check that the power source is connected;
A few factors will help to determine the type of learning activity to be incorporated into the training. One aspect is the training resources available to the employer. Can a group training program that uses an outside trainer and film be organized, or should the employer personally train the employees on a one–to–one basis? Another factor is the kind of skills or knowledge to be learned. Is the learning oriented toward physical skills (such as the use of special tools) or toward mental processes and attitudes? Such factors will influence the type of learning activity designed by employers. The training activity can be group–oriented, with lectures, role play, and demonstration; or designed for the individual as with self–paced instruction.
The determination of methods and materials for the learning activity can be as varied as the employer's imagination and available resources will allow. The employer may want to use charts, diagrams, manuals, slides, films, viewgraphs (overhead transparencies), videotapes, audiotapes, or simply blackboard and chalk, or any combination of these and other instructional aids. Whatever the method of instruction, the learning activities should be developed in such a way that the employees can clearly demonstrate that they have acquired the desired skills or knowledge.
(1) provide overviews of the material to be learned;
These steps will assist employers in presenting the training in a clear, unambiguous manner.
In addition to organizing the content, employers must also develop the structure and format of the training. The content developed for the program, the nature of the workplace or other training site, and the resources available for training will help employers determine for themselves the frequency of training activities, the length of the sessions, the instructional techniques, and the individuals best qualified to present the information.
In order to be motivated to pay attention and learn the material that the employer or supervisor is presenting, employees must be convinced of the importance and relevance of the material. Among the ways of developing motivation are:
(1) Explaining the goals and objectives of instruction;
An effective training program allows employees to participate in the training process and to practice their skills or knowledge. This will help to ensure that they are learning the required knowledge or skills and permit correction if necessary. Employees can become involved in the training process by participating in discussions, asking questions, contributing their knowledge and expertise, learning through hands–on experiences, and through role–playing exercises.
3 - Evaluation
(1) Student opinion. Questionnaires or informal discussions with employees
can help employers determine the relevance and appropriateness of the
However it is conducted, an evaluation of training can give employers the information necessary to decide whether or not the employees achieved the desired results, and whether the training session should be offered again at some future date.
4 - Improving the Program
(1) Were parts of the content already known and, therefore, unnecessary?
It may be necessary to repeat steps in the training process, that is, to return to the first steps and retrace one's way through the training process. As the program is evaluated, the employer should ask:
(1) If a job analysis was conducted, was it accurate?
A critical examination of the steps in the training process will help employers to determine where course revision is necessary.
One way to differentiate between employees who have priority needs for training and those who do not is to identify employee populations which are at higher levels of risk. The nature of the work will provide an indication that such groups should receive priority for information on occupational safety and health risks.
Identifying Employees At Risk
A second method of identifying employee populations at high levels of risk is to examine the incidence of accidents and injuries, both within the company and within the industry. If employees in certain occupational categories are experiencing higher accident and injury rates than other employees, training may be one way to reduce that rate. In addition, thorough accident investigation can identify not only specific employees who could benefit from training but also identify company–wide training needs.
Research has identified the following variables as being related to a disproportionate share of injuries and illnesses at the worksite on the part of employees:
The age of the employee
(younger employees have higher incidence rates).
These variables should be considered when identifying employee groups for training in occupational safety and health.
Training Employees At Risk
1. Job description,
2. Job location,
3. Key steps (preferably in the order in which they are performed),
4. Tools, machines and materials used,
5. Hazards. Actual and potential safety and health hazards associated with these key job steps, and