Several health and safety (H&S) leaders we spoke to believe that a well-designed training and communication strategy holds the key to safety performance. Without the right training and continuous reminders, employees often forget the importance of keeping safety parameters in mind while performing regular tasks.
To spread safety awareness across the organization, H&S leaders are putting down safety policy documents – capturing everything from SOPs and training requirements to tasks that require a Permit to Work (PTW) and risk control measures being taken to tackle several safety hazards.
However, the H&S team faces several hurdles when it comes to organization-wide employee engagement. Some of the common challenges include:
- People prioritizing functional goals over safety goals (while this is natural, it is critical to understand the risks associated with ignoring safety requirements)
- Lack of transparency in incident management, leading to skepticism about the organization’s commitment to workplace safety
- Fear of retribution
- Manual processes that make reporting difficult and time-consuming
- Complex processes
- Lack of organizational commitment to safety
- Lack of data to enable identifying risks and potential hazards
For safety management to be effective, there must be a concerted effort from every employee in the organization. There has to be top management commitment, automation of workflows to ease the processes, proper recording and reporting tools to empower the workforce, and follow-up action. Training becomes key to providing workers with the skills to discharge their duties safely and identify risks.
The 7 Key Elements for Effective Safety Training
Safety Training is one of the seven key elements that make safety management effective, according to an OSHA Safety and Health Program model, along with management commitment. The training is key to empowering employees in identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risks. They need to understand the common workplace hazards they may be exposed to, how to recognize them, and to control the exposure.
Therefore, education and training play a key role and need to include the following key elements:
- Awareness About Safety Requirements and Policies: First and foremost is creating awareness among employees about workplace safety, their role, and the policies, rules, and regulations that govern their industry and company. Documents must be shared online or as physical copies, and safety warnings must be posted in relevant locations to constantly remind employees about safe behavior. This should include orientations for new employees, periodic safety and health training, and emergency drills. Supervisors and managers also need to be trained periodically and keep pace with the changing regulatory and business needs.
- Becoming Accountable: Establishing accountability demonstrates the commitment of the managers to achieve and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. It reiterates the importance of the program and also clearly delineates roles and responsibilities. The employees must receive training that is relevant to their business function and will help them to fulfill their assigned duties.
- Facilitating Involvement: As is often repeated, safety management is for the workers, of the workers, and by the workers. It needs the total involvement of the workforce to ensure the success of the program. A safety committee that has representation from the workers and the management will help to improve workplace safety and health. Such employees who are part of the committee must be provided further training to be able to analyze data, be proactive in safety management, and make decisions as and when required.
- Hazard Identification and Control: Is there a hazardous condition in the workplace? How potent is it? What is the likelihood of it causing an incident? Can it be removed or damage minimized? Training must be oriented towards helping employees identify and assess hazards, report them, and take suitable action to mitigate them.
- Incident/Accident Analysis: Despite all efforts, there may still be accidents and events. Identifying the root cause and triggering CAPA to take corrective and preventive action is the next step. The safety committee should be involved and empowered to analyze data. The intention is not to assign blame but prevent their recurrence.
- Proactive Participation: Continuous improvement of the safety management program is possible only with the complete involvement of the employees. In addition to the known hazards, employees with expertise in their functional areas may be able to provide additional inputs on other potential hazards. Training them and incentivizing them to be constantly on the lookout to report risks and suggest controls will go a long way in improving safety management.
- Managing Metrics: What cannot be measured cannot be managed. Training employees to understand key safety metrics and their performance is crucial in identifying and preventing hazards. This will go a long way in creating a culture of safety in the workplace.
In addition to these, the employees must also be trained in recording events, documenting processes, and managing them effectively for easy access, reference, and regulatory reporting. They should be made aware of the importance of periodic audits and inspections and encouraged to be always audit-ready to improve compliance and safety.
Enabling businesses to train and prepare their employees to inculcate safe behaviors and improve workplace safety is the main feature of ComplianceQuest Safety Management Software. It provides tools and solutions that help businesses implement end-to-end safety management programs across the organization. Training Management is an important component of this cloud-based, robust and scalable solution, which integrates with other modules such as Audit, Documentation, Incident, Safety Observations, and so on. Safety Tower and Management Review help the top management to identify gaps and create relevant programs to ensure employees are well-equipped to deal with hazards and risks.
To know more about the CQ EHS – Training Management Solution, visit: