For safety training to be effective, supervisors and managers conducting training have to be trained to train. Here’s what they need to know.
1. To train adult learners, trainers must understand and use these four key elements of successful employee learning:
- Motivation. Trainers must explain how the learning is related to trainees’ jobs and safety, and instill a sense of personal achievement to encourage trainees to accomplish training goals. And trainers must make training stimulating and interactive so that it keeps the interest and attention of their learners.
- Reinforcement. Trainers need to understand and use positive reinforcement (praise, for example) to support learning of new skills and new information. Reinforcement helps make safety training a positive, meaningful experience for trainees.
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- Retention. Trainers also must make sure trainees retain the information they learn so that they can use it on the job. Your trainers can achieve successful retention rates by giving trainees the opportunity to practice skills and to ask questions about new information during training sessions. Quizzes and other forms of evaluation also aid retention.
- Transference. Trainers must make sure that trainees bring what they’ve learned directly to their jobs. Training should be scheduled so employees can use new skills immediately. And handouts that trainees can take back to the job are needed to assist in transference.
2. To develop effective training plans, trainers need to learn to:
- Set reasonable and useful training objectives.
- Assess training needs and match those needs to training objectives.
- Understand the requirements of OSHA-mandated training and incorporate into training plans.
- Set up a schedule that allows for full employee participation and includes a logical sequence for multipart training.
- Choose appropriate training methods.
- Develop appropriate materials that match content to employee training needs.
3. Trainers should be familiar with different training methods so that they can choose the most effective for a specific safety topic and a particular group of trainees. Among the methods trainers should be competent to use are:
- Classroom training, including discussions, lectures, storytelling, and video and PowerPoint® presentations
- Demonstrations and hands-on practice
- On-the-job training and cross-training
- Computer-based learning, including CD and multimedia presentations and e-learning (online training)
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4. Preparing useful and informative training materials includes several key steps. Trainers should be trained to:
- Specify training goals and objectives
- Present subject matter in a logical order
- Emphasize the most important points
- Customize off-the-shelf materials for your organization and employees
- Incorporate interactive methods into training
- Write a well-organized training outline and helpful handouts
- Plan for questions and answers about training content
Why It Matters…
- You spend a lot of money every year on training and if trainers are ineffective, training goals won’t be met.
- A significant portion of the safety training you provide is required by OSHA standards, which means it’s essential for trainers be competent so that they can meet OSHA requirements.
- One of the best ways to prevent workplace accidents and injuries is by training employees to work safely.