How to make safety training stick
We all know that good safety training helps to keep workers safe. But anyone who ever crammed for a test in school knows that something you memorize for just one day is something you’ll forget next week. So what can you do to ensure that the safety lessons learned in training stick with your workers on the job?
Training the Right Way
Workers are unlikely to remember their training if they just sit and listen to you talk. Keep your training interesting and engaging and include all three types of adult learning – Auditory, Visual, and Tactile.
Auditory learners learn by speaking and listening.
Visual learners learn by seeing colors, shapes, and symbols.
Tactile learners are hands-on people who learn by doing.
Keep people moving and let them experience what you’re teaching them. Slide presentations can be a good way to anchor and display information, but be sure you also play games and get workers competing to answer questions correctly or have them demonstrate a safety lesson. Training that has them falling asleep is no training at all!
Post-Training Follow Up
Once your training is complete, follow up with your workers both in a group and one-on-one. Ask them what seemed important to them in the lesson. Ask them if they’re comfortable with what they learned. Having even a brief conversation afterward can solidify the lessons in their memories and allow them to ask about anything they may not have understood or may have felt reluctant to ask in a group setting.
Since training usually takes place outside of the normal working environment, be sure to include reminders on the job. Place posters throughout your facility to remind workers to wear the proper PPE. You can also use unplanned reminders when you see a worker who isn’t following their training. If your workers know you’ll be walking around, ready to hand out reminders or give a quick safety pop-quiz, they’ll be more likely to pay attention when it’s time to learn.
Remember that training shouldn’t be a one-time event. That first teaching phase is just the beginning and won’t pay off unless you follow up by observing your workers on the job and using any problems you see to correct and shape their performance. You can also reinforce training by calling out workers who are doing things right.
Rinse and Repeat
Keeping a balance between longer training classes and quick reminders is another good way to reinforce learning. Invest in a series of five to seven-minute online burst-training classes or other types of electronic learning or even give short, written quizzes. These quick-hit trainings can serve as effective reinforcement of specific lessons and can be geared toward problems you’ve seen in your facility. Have you spent a lot of time telling workers to put on a pair of safety glasses? Assign everyone a quick eye safety burst training or assign a quiz to keep it on their minds.
You can also reinforce lessons in quick huddles or toolbox-talks before shifts begin. A few minutes spent going over proper procedures might just avoid an incident.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Use all of these tips to improve your training and help workers to remember their safety procedures. If you find yourself spending too much time issuing friendly reminders, start talking to your workers and review what training worked for them and what didn’t. At the end of the day, the best kind of training is whatever helps your workers stay safe.