Speaker Spotlight

Speaker Spotlight: Defend your safety training: Is it good enough?

Daniel Snyder

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every year, the National Safety Council Congress & Expo features some of the top thought-leaders and motivators in the occupational safety and health community. Safety+Health has invited the most highly rated presenters to contribute to this monthly column. For more on this year’s event, visit congress.nsc.org.

Training is critical to saving lives and money, but not all training is created equal. Ensuring workers are properly trained and educated about workplace hazards, risks and controls is the most important outcome of a defensible safety training program. Fortunately for our industry, we don’t have to go it alone. The ANSI/ASSP Z490 standards clearly outline what safety pros must do to move toward better training.

As chair of the Z490 committee, I helped develop the Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health and Environmental Training Standard – a document that encompasses the major elements of an effective training program that, in turn, helps organizations defend and justify safety competency. The scope of this guide showcases appropriate implementation of managing a comprehensive training program, including course development, training delivery and evaluation, and documentation and recordkeeping. This document helps users determine if their current training standard holds up to regulation by asking these questions about training validity:

  • Did trainees learn during training?
  • Is what was learned during training transferred?
  • Do current and previous trainers perform the same?
  • Can training work from one organization to another?

Now more than ever, as the situation in our world shifts from the traditional in-person trainings to more virtual training events, organizations would be wise to set goals to incorporate the Accepted Practices for E-Learning in Safety, Health and Environmental Training Standard for carrying out virtual learning that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. The backbone for taking a training program online is finding a system (both educationally and technically) that has the capacity to integrate all angles of the learning process. From start to finish, the ADDIE Model (analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate) for instructional design is a cyclical guideline to submerse your current training materials in that will help refine processes and procedures for building high-quality performance tools. The phases of analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation help to generate comprehensive and dynamic instruction that is learner-centered.

After having built an effective training system, it’s a matter of finding a place to house your instructional materials. Learning management systems are online platforms that centralize, automate, scale, support, personalize and host content for learner engagement. An in-house solution to the implementation phase of design, a strong LMS identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning goals, tracks progress toward those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of the organization as a whole.

If you’re able to choose a delivery method for your training, blended learning – a mesh between in-person and online delivery – is the instructional environment that creates the largest benefits overall. But remember, at the end of the day, no matter what your media, it’s the components of your training program that ultimately ensure its success or failure, its defensibility, and its protection for your workers. Following these industry standards as guidance for a robust and defensible training system helps workers become confident and skilled in their jobs, ultimately resulting in everyone going home safe.

This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

Daniel J. Snyder, Ed.D, CSP, CIT, is a board-certified safety professional and a subject matter expert on professional competencies and influencing occupational safety and health management systems. His research-based consultancy advises OHS professionals about how to leverage influential safety leadership through experience, education and examination. He is the founder of safetymentor.com.


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