By Kyle O’Brien
Workplace safety is a paramount issue with any business. Whether you’re a meat-packing business or a coffee shop, safety concerns abound. Thus, having your entire staff up to speed with sufficient training on ways to prevent accidents, as trivial as one tutorial may seem, is something that should go beyond the basic written words inside the employee handbook. That’s not to say a handbook is useless. Far from it. It’s how management discerns workplace safety, with how certain equipment is to be handled, what protective layers should be issued and worn at all times…the list should, and does go on.
From obtaining better training videos to ensuring each and every employee has a firm grasp of what’s been shown, there are numerous points to follow through with regards to safety training.
Understanding The Costs of Improper Training
Before you begin to assess your company’s workplace safety policies and training, I’ll share one example of how some oversights in the electrical industry – specifically towards improper maintenance of electrical systems – can cost businesses in more ways than fines. A Siemens report back in 2010 uncovered a list of violations of electrical maintenance with certain buildings. Spanning 25 facilities, OSHA handed out more than $5 million in fines to employers who failed to train their employees on servicing electrical systems in the building. Some of the violations were a result of not having the right tools. More major violations were given to not putting up proper warning signs for specific areas, thus potentially endangering employees to shock, electrocution and arc flash.
Putting aside the monetary issues, the heart of the matter is the safety of employees and all who would walk around the “hazard zones”. The report stated that every workday, arc-flash incidents had hospitalized five to seven workers at those buildings in the U.S. Around 30,000 arc-flash incidents in total, with around 7,000 of those incidents involving burn injuries. And that’s just with regards to a specific industry. Employers who don’t first research the risks/dangers of prior incidents are setting themselves up to repeat them.
Creating Easier Ways To Engage Employees
Safety training, computer training, compliance training — there’s more than enough areas for a business to cover with their employees. Some choose to spend half a day, maybe less than that, sequestering entire departments for a training seminar. There will be packets, referendums, company policies on what to do in an event. And not to say that employees are prone to be disinterested throughout, well, there’s a good chance streamlined, succinct methods will fare better with how each employee digests the information.
It’s why better-developed training videos can command more eyes and ears. Many older training videos of the 1980’s were attempts to add humor and a storyline to someone operating the grill at a fast food restaurant. The sad reality was that it was grainy, had cacophonous background music and took too long to define instructions and safety measures. If that same effort was applied to a training video on how to operate a crane on a job site, you’d most likely have confused employees who’d just rather settle for a succinct video displaying the key statistics of operating with caution.
Creating a video that has a clear and direct narrator displaying stats like the number of injuries reported on common job sites and whether they’ve worsened or gotten better, how certain “hot spots” of the site should be littered with warning signs, Safety hardhat requirements and ways to be better aware of one’s surroundings and other key points, your training segments would go much further to making safety measures more tangible to employees.
Have Q & A Sessions After Each Video
Once you’ve wrapped up the safety training video or session, the best way to make every safety measure mentioned stick is to have an immediate Q & A. While it might be hard to get employees to chat after sitting through a lengthy training video (which is why you should cap your videos to shorter time limits, or break up meatier safety lessons into segments), it’s still important to at least entertain questions. Doesn’t matter how obscure a question could be, no stone should be left unturned when it comes to workplace precautions.
And Q & A’s should be a continual process, because you can’t expect every employee to reach expert levels once they leave the room. Maybe it means having managers around the first time a chef starts to work with a new grill, or have someone supervising employees first go-around with heavy machinery types such as the Knuckleboom Loader, Feller Bunchers, Pipelayers and other rather complex and powerful equipment?
The main thing is your initiative to stay on top of important safety concerns with the workplace and that you and your entire organization understand that accidents happen every day, in every workplace across the country. But it’s how you lessen the numbers through awareness, through training videos and whether they’ll be a continual process in education, through warning signs being posted in key spots around the workplace or job site, and most important, through a passion to stay on top of creating as safe an environment as possible.
Author Bio: Kyle is a frequent blogger covering the business industry on a range of topics from employee safety, business leadership, motivation practices and other themes. He is a consultant for an eLearning company, ej4, which helps create informative and innovative training videos and business book summaries to help further increase employee knowledge of the workplace.