There are nearly infinite options when it comes to delivering safety training in higher hazard workplaces. From slickly produced training videos to in-person training whose effectiveness almost always solely depends on the effectiveness of the instructor (an instructor who drones on and on or constantly tells war stories is not as effective as one who does not, among other things).
Many times in an effort to check the box, the training format that is easiest to deliver is often chosen. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't, and employees don't retain anything or, worse, resent being there at all.
The key is to balance the need for ease of use and delivery with the human touch. How do we help those organizations that have far flung workforces the same way we are able to help that company that gathers everyone in one place for training? What about pre-training and follow up training? Has a training needs analysis even been conducted? The list goes on and on.
ANSI and ASSE developed Z490, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training to address the questions above and more. It's a great document and can be of tremendous value as you build out your training offerings.
As this is a blog for a commercial company, it would be disingenuous to not acknowledge that we have a part to play in all of this as well. As with many things, properly training a workforce is a team effort. It's a people business (and if you have picked up anything from our writings, it would be the fact that we keep going back to that fact). The training delivery format has some flexibility in terms of in-person or digital as today's digital tools are so much better than they were and allow for immediate feedback in many cases. However, it's critical that there is appropriate follow up and reinforcement by the employee and management to evaluate progress, but also to give the training 'teeth'. Otherwise, an organization risks the training becoming nothing more than a rote exercise that takes away production and wastes time.
We at LowRisq focus on providing training that is easy to deliver with automated record-keeping. It's vital that these two components are present. We offer a variety of formats and strive to evaluate learning in each course. We offer opportunities for employee input and we are always asking for feedback. What we can't completely control, nor can any other trainer, is the employee's motivation to retain and use the learned information. This is where an effective safety management system comes into play. That is, a management system that understands each employee's motivation and strives to play to his or her strengths and strives to understand their weaknesses as well. The well-trained organization avoids a one size fits all mentality.
We support this, even if it might be at odds with our training offerings sometimes. What we want is effectiveness, and if we can provide all or just a piece of the training, then we are OK with that if the employee goes home at the end of the day.