Occupational health and safety training is no longer something that’s just commendable to have but is now a must for all businesses. Many firms now see it as a way to improve the overall efficiency of their establishment, because workers who feel safer and who are healthier are more productive. Health and safety training is now seen as a necessary investment, not an additional cost.
Each year, employee health and safety training becomes more interactive and cost-effective. Changes in technology are, of course, driving these trends, but they’re also being driven by changes in the way that businesses are organizing themselves. For example, since 2010, there have been double-digit increases in the amount of e-learning in employee training.
Here are three global trends that highlight the importance of occupational health and safety training today.
Formal Safety Orientation Programs
Occupational health and safety training should begin as soon as employees are hired, when they are more receptive to information about how the organization operates. Additionally, new employees are more likely to experience work-related incidents because of their inherent lack of familiarity with the company’s procedures.
Workplaces should develop a formal safety orientation program to forge a sturdy link between all employees and the organization’s safety and health policies. This orientation process should include:
- Safety, health and environmental policies
- Emergency response procedures
- Housekeeping standards
- First aid and CPR
- Hazard communication
- Care and use of personal protective equipment
- Incident reporting and investigation processes
- Ergonomics principles
- Fire prevention plans
Online Health and Safety Training
As an example, while a lot of progress has been made over the past few decades in preventing explosion disasters in coal mines, there is still room for improvement. When a mine disaster such as an explosion or fire does occur, it is imperative that workers understand the importance of certified safety equipment.
To react appropriately to dangerous situations, training and preparation are essential. For this reason, many firms are using virtual environments for occupational health and safety training. This type of technology allows trainees to enter an environment that is impossible to visit in the real world, observe the scene from different points of view and operate machinery virtually.
One of the most effective ways to learn about safety is through gamification. This method works effectively because it genuinely engages employees. By giving employees an immediate purpose for the learning experience, occupational health and safety training becomes something that isn’t abstract but instead is objective-driven and rewarding.
Gamification is especially popular with millennials, who are highly receptive to technology. That said, there are many different ways people learn. It falls on the company, then, to remember to use games that are tailored to individual needs.
Occupational health and safety training for new employees can be tedious and complicated, particularly for swamped supervisors. Nevertheless, it is essential for supervisors to make new employee training a priority. They must stay up to date on training and safety policies to avoid contradicting advice in the organization’s training manual and safety policies. They should also be involved in the development of training programs to help ensure the information is timely and relevant.
It is the company’s responsibility to show new employees how safety works in the organization. Asking them to read health and safety manuals and policies just won’t cut it. Also, remember the importance of actually practicing what you preach. Leading by example is a concept critical to the success of your company’s health and safety program.