2016 Training Survey
How much does your organization spend on worker safety training?
Few would argue that an effective training program is essential to workplace safety.
Details, however, are more difficult to pinpoint. How much should an organization spend on training? How should that training be presented? To help clarify some of these questions, we turned to you, the safety professional.
Safety professionals across a variety of industries participated in Safety+Health’s inaugural Training Survey.
These safety pros also opened up about some of the greatest challenges they encounter regarding worker safety training. Many offered comments about mistakes they have made and lessons learned while overseeing their training programs.
Here are five common challenges, including comments from respondents:
Keeping the message fresh
“(Our challenge is) keeping the topic fresh as we do not have much turnover, so the same people are hearing the same message each year.”
“Keep it genuine, and not a sermon.”
Language and literacy barriers
“Converting English to Spanish and making sure they understand.”
“For our company, the greatest challenge is dealing with the literacy level of our workforce.”
“Reaching a global audience and understanding their culture and local safety regulations.”
“The training needs to be interesting to avoid people falling asleep.”
“Getting them to understand it is THEIR life we are talking about.”
“Presenting training that is relevant to the workers’ ‘real world.’ Workforce presents a WIDE range of age, social backgrounds, job specific work experience, etc. Presenting training that is useful across that spectrum is an issue.”
“Getting workers together at the same time to do training.”
“Getting workers to complete training while they are on the road traveling, and accommodating travel schedules for required hands-on training.”
“Convincing management to invest in additional safety training.”
“Getting management to attend the trainings.”
“Convincing supervisors that the time spent training is productive even though the employee is not in the field doing work.”
As for lessons learned, safety professionals cited past mistakes such as trying to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to safety training. Several said they missed the mark early by trying to relay too much information at one time.
One respondent in the manufacturing industry listed what he learned from his experiences:
“Not enough room to type all my mistakes, but a few of them were: trying to do it all myself (and) not getting supervisors involved with the training; not utilizing enough outside resources to aid with the training; not using outside speakers.
“Lessons I have learned: The employees like free stuff; the same 2 percent of the people will not listen or they will do their own thing, whether it is safety or meeting with their boss about work; for the most part, the employees want to do the right thing, and they know to do the right thing, they mess up when they are in a hurry.”
Another respondent from manufacturing suggested making the training fun and quizzing trainees for prizes:
“I’ve learned that you can’t just read slides for training. You need to actively involve the students in order for them to gain anything from the training.”