Over the past 12 months, 137 workers have died in the workplace. Following this stark figure up, is the fact that 70,116 additional workers have been injured, with 31.2m working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.
No employer wants to contribute to the statistics above, and yet all too often safety training is at least partially to blame for incidents and accidents out on site.
Solid training is intrinsically linked to not just reduced risk of injury, but also to improved employee performance and reduced sick time. So being stringent in your safety training isn’t just an ethical and legal responsibility, it’s also good business sense.
Across the transatlantic, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (equivalent to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive [HSE]), has identified four cornerstones of effective safety training. These cornerstones state that training must be accurate, credible, clear and practical, if it is to be as impactful as possible. This acronym applies to all safety training (not just working at height); and here we sum up the key takeaways…
Any materials that accompany the training must be prepared or created by qualified individuals. This shouldn’t be underestimated. After all, with the ever-changing legislation surrounding PPE and health and safety at work, keeping your training materials up-to-date can be quite the challenge (case and point made by EU PPE legislation, which was updated in 2016, again in 2018 and will be once more in 2019).
Those delivering the training should have the firm foundations of a health and safety background, and/or be an expert in the field (e.g. such as our team providing training for the use of Fall-Pac protection). Vitally, they should also have a track record of delivering training to adults in the industry – which can ensure good practice, such as speaking clearly, moving through the training at the right pace, and being aware of participants’ understanding as the training progresses.
Safety training can all too easily overwhelm – technical terms, advanced vocabulary and jargon must be thrown out in favour of the common language of those receiving the training. This extends to the training materials and their readability – reflecting the everyday speech of those participating.
Something to be emphasised here is in relation to secondary English speakers. While they could be fluent in spoken English, they may have low literacy in not just English, but also in their mother tongue.
Recalling and applying the training in the workplace can only happen when the material being taught is practical. Training should always apply to the real-world of the participants – presenting information, ideas and skills that directly relate to the job roles of those being trained.