As you assess your business’s potential for growth and increased safety for 2014, there are a number of areas you can evaluate before formulating an improvement plan. By fostering dialogue between different levels of your business, you can improve employee safety, reduce risk of accident and injuries, and diminish risks associated with your business. Below are a few goals to consider as you develop safety training goals for the new year.
Last Year’s Training Goals
There’s a reason that athletes often view recordings of themselves in competition as they work to improve – a thoughtful analysis of past performance can be a very effective way to move towards improved future performance. Study the previous year’s safety training – what methods were used to impart information? What were your main goals? What accidents and injuries occurred? For instance, if a key training focus was the operation of a given system and several employees still suffered injuries using that same system, then it may be time to consider reformatting that section of safety training. It can be uncomfortable to face shortcomings of prior methods, but that temporary discomfort can help you to make changes that will have an enormous positive impact on your business and its safety.
Engage With People at Various Levels
This step is particularly important if your business operates on many levels. Bear in mind that not all misunderstandings are reported. For instance, it’s important to talk to shift supervisors or managers about their employees. Do employees ask about a specific procedure or require assistance in a given area? Go down your chain of command and solicit specific feedback. Be clear that you’re asking in order to improve safety training – some employees may be hesitant to report mistakes (their own or those of coworkers) for fear of losing their jobs or getting other employees in trouble.
Consider New Means of Training
New technologies can sometimes be a boon for safety training. For instance, if you have included all necessary information in a given training module that you feel is clear, it may be worth a look at the way the training is presented. Is it on paper? Via a video? Simulations, games, and other interactive media can sometimes be more effective ways of imparting important information. If you present important content in an engaging way, your employees will be more likely to retain what they learn in training.
Check Retention of Employee Knowledge
That said, it’s important to be able to assess how employees are retaining and using the information they’ve learned. There are a number of ways to support and test information retention, and ideally, you can use some of both methods in your business. You may want to include pop quizzes on safety procedures or ways of dealing with problems in the workplace. Having refresher sessions in which employees act out potential problems or accidents can give you a chance to see how they would respond to accidents or difficulties. While observing an acted scenario, you can also offer critique and guidance in areas where employees seem to be struggling.
If you want to assess employees on an individual basis, you can conference one-on-one and discuss safety scenarios with them. This is less efficient, but it can give you a chance to better assess individual retention of information. When employees speak with you one-on-one, they may be more open to voicing concerns or asking questions about topics that seem unclear. You can even ask employees if they have ideas for good training topics or areas which they would like to see covered in more detail at future trainings.
Check Alignment of Your Plan With Established Standards
While it’s important to evaluate potential safety training plans for their ability to engage employees and to impart information effectively, it’s also vital to not lose track of your company’s overarching safety goals or standards. As a formulator of a safety plan, it’s important for you to translate broadly-stated goals and safety standards into easily-digestible training modules.
In addition to addressing standard safety concerns, your plan should address safety concerns as they crop up. Make new injuries or emerging patterns of accidents a priority.
Embrace the Dynamic Nature of the Process
Don’t create a safety training plan overnight. Make a draft of topics, circulate it, and ask for suggestions. By soliciting feedback from every level of the business at every level of the planning process, you will be able to crowdsource ideas. You also will communicate to your employees that their opinions and input are important to you. Teamwork can be an excellent component of safety planning and training.
Safety training is an important topic that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With a solid analysis of the previous year’s plan behind you, solicit input from employees as you begin to shape a new plan. By keeping an open mind and being willing to accept input from a variety of people, you’ll be able to develop a dynamic safety plan that protects your employees and the core values of your business or company.