Workplace safety training remains a top priority for manufacturing companies that understand the importance of keeping their employees safe and protecting their bottom line.
Many company leaders believe productivity can rise by at least 50% if employees consistently follow workplace safety rules. But nearly two thirds also know that even with their best efforts applied to training, some employees still won’t follow workplace safety protocols on the floor.
What’s the disconnect in this scenario? Why are companies finding it so difficult to train and motivate employees to work safely? And why aren't employees listening?
These are just two of the areas Intertek Alchemy recently examined during its first annual State of Workplace Safety Training report. The report gathered information from nearly 1,100 respondents representing over 4,400 worksite facilities, studying workplace safety training's top challenges.
Based on this comprehensive survey, respondents said their employees were two times more likely to follow safety protocols on the floor if given the proper safety training. But the ability to deliver that training was impeded by three main challenges: finding time, verifying their training is useful, and an inability to follow up with refresher courses.
Let’s take a look at these three challenges a bit more closely and see how they relate to your training environment.
No Time to Train
The survey presented 12 common training challenges of which respondents could select their top three. Their number one challenge was finding time for training, with 59% including this in their top obstacles. It’s difficult for management to shut down production and set aside quotas to conduct training, even knowing that accidents can severely impact the same goals.
On average, according to the survey, nearly half the companies cited in the survey said they dedicate just five to 15 hours a year to train each employee. Companies that provide more safety training create an environment where employees are more likely to share best practices with each other.
When companies are measured by production output, many professionals believe employees should be productive every minute they’re clocked in. However, workplace injuries have the potential to create extraordinary expenses and disruptions to production.
To overcome this hurdle, safety professionals must show senior management how workplace safety training can positively impact profits and production. One way to do this is to connect training content to company goals and demonstrate how preventing safety risks help meet production demands. This means stressing the importance of safety training beyond regulatory compliance and potential litigation.
Unsure if Training is Effective
Nearly a third of the companies in the survey included the difficulty to verify if their training is effective among their biggest challenges. For some companies, training is conducted for the sole purpose of checking a compliance box. But the real benefit of training should be based on whether or not it is effective enough to drive behavior changes. The Intertek Alchemy report provides an overview of some of the tools and processes to make training more effective and meet company goals.
Lack of Retraining, Remediation, and Refresher Training
For training, repetition is critical. Nearly 25% of respondents included the struggle to provide refresher training and reinforcement programs among their top challenges. And it's estimated 80% of training material can be forgotten within 30 days unless reinforced.
It is encouraging that companies pinpoint refresher training as a top priority, even if it’s a struggle. On this topic as well, this report sheds light on how companies can provide more training reinforcement.
In an upcoming blog, we’ll go over five things companies can do to build a stronger workplace safety program based on results from the Workplace Safety Training Survey.
If you’d like to jump ahead and look at the full report, download a complimentary copy of The State of Workplace Safety Training Report Or, watch this recent webinar that showcases the report's findings.