Five Ways to Build a Stronger Workplace Safety Program
In a previous blog, we discussed the most common challenges and roadblocks to developing workplace safety programs, as revealed by Intertek Alchemy’s first annual State of Workplace Safety Training report.
Based on the survey of nearly 1,100 respondents representing over 4,400 worksite facilities, we broke down the three primary challenges to this:
A lack of time for training
Inability to verify the effectiveness of training
A shortage of retraining, remediation, and refresher training.
Those are the challenges. Now let’s look at some solutions.
As part of the research, we analyzed the data and paired it with discussions with hundreds of training and safety professionals. Based on that, here are five suggestions to help you build a stronger workplace safety training program.
Make training more effective with relatable site-specific photos and videos
During our conversations, we listened to training and safety professionals describe how they use course-authoring software to add site-specific photos and videos to their training courses.
They said the more real they could make the training look and feel, the more relevant and relatable it becomes for their workers.
With this approach, they were two times more likely to have employees become “very engaged” in their safety training. They were also twice as confident that employees will show others how to perform job duties correctly and safely. And they were 30% more likely to validate which specific employees understood their training.
Possibly more impressive, they were 124% more capable of providing evidence of correct on-the-floor safety behaviors during an OSHA inspection.
Introduce and maximize training technology
Using a learning management system (LMS) to help manage training, companies can eliminate gaps that might put employees in harm’s way. The research showed that 62% of companies surveyed are using an LMS. While positive at first glance, that means nearly 40% of companies aren’t using the most basic training technology to reduce errors, deliver more training, and mitigate safety risks.
LMS software and apps can sync with your HR platform to manage and document training records in less time and verify that employees comprehended their training.
The research results revealed that companies utilizing an LMS are providing 30% more training. They can verify employees understand their programs, and they are 26% more likely to provide documented safety training to temporary and contract workers.
Make training more interactive
Interactive training requires more than online participation. It involves trainee input and engagement throughout the training course. Audience response training technologies with games and intermittent quizzes can promote engagement with groups of employees simultaneously. Plus, the technology doubles to automatically document employee understanding digitally, or discreetly identify workers who need individual attention.
According to the study, only 31% of companies readily use this technology. Those that do are 22% more likely to assess understanding using a documented quiz or exam, 25% more likely to review employees on the job, and will conduct 31% more reinforcement training.
Incorporate a strong, visible on-the-job training program
Workplace safety failures are frequently created by wrong information or unsanctioned shortcuts passing from one employee to another. Employees will always have questions when working on the floor. So, it’s essential to make sure they know where to go for the right answer. That’s where a more formal on-the-job training (OJT) program comes into play. With this approach, any question or potential mistake can be resolved before it impacts production.
Leaders recognize the value of such a program, with 41% citing training courses on the floor as the best way for employees to learn. With mobile technology, companies can create and deliver consistent and accurate OJT. Supervisors can use apps that provide company-sanctioned training on any mobile device, so training integrity and consistency are never in question.
Measure training effectiveness through on-the-floor behavior
To fully know if your time and money are being appropriately spent on training, you must measure employee performance, which merely a quarter of our survey respondents are doing. Mobile technologies are available to make this easier with marginal to no impact on operational productivity. Intertek Alchemy’s solutions, for example, are suited for a manufacturing environment, including the ability to function without WiFi connection.
These are some of our topline recommendations based on the State of Workplace Safety Training report. If you have additional suggestions, we’d love to hear them.
In the meantime, you can download a complimentary copy of the full report. Use the research findings to benchmark your workplace safety training program to your peers.
You can also listen to a recent webinar on the report.